Hungary host Norway in the second leg of their European Championship play-off on Sunday knowing that a draw will see them reach the finals of a major competition for the first time since 1986.
A debut strike from Laszlo Kleinheisler in Oslo on Thursday secured a 1-0 win and handed Bernd Storck’s men a slender advantage in the tie and a potentially crucial away goal as they prepare for the return fixture at the Groupama Arena in Budapest this weekend.
Hungary’s last home defeat came almost a year ago but Storck’s men have a poor recent record against Norway, having not beaten their Scandinavian opponents at home in their last five attempts.
Storck sought to play down the significance of their first-leg victory, insisting Norway remain favourites, while goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly urged his team-mates to finish the job and book a place at Euro 2016.
“I think it was very important to win, for the whole team,” Kiraly told UEFA.com after an impressive display in Oslo.
“But we have to forgot this game, we have to focus on the next game.
“I think we have to recover now very quickly and now we will see which [Hungary] team can play.
“But we are one strong team and we have to show that in Hungary.”
Kiraly frustrated the hosts by producing a string of saves to deny the likes of Per Ciljan Skjelbred, Alexander Soderlund and Stefan Johansen.
The result has left Norway on the brink of a second European Championship play-off defeat in as many attempts, following a loss to Spain prior to Euro 2004.
Head coach Per-Mathias Hogmo received criticism for failing to utilise teenage prodigy Martin Odegaard off the bench with his side in need of a goal.
But the Real Madrid starlet maintains all is not lost for Norway, telling Stavanger Aftenblad: “Our chances are still good.
“If we win there then we are in the European Championships. That is our focus.
“I will not seek to add to [discussions over his absence on Thursday] or further speculate. Of course you want to play when you’re on the bench but you can’t always play every time.”
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