A chaotic 15-minute span for Christoph Baumgartner gave Austria the win they wanted and the advancement they craved.
The midfielder was involved in a clash of heads early in the first half, then scored the only goal in Austria’s 1-0 victory over Ukraine at the European Championship on Monday.
Baumgartner jumped for a free ball after a corner in the 17th minute but was knocked to the ground after colliding head-to-head with Illia Zabarnyi. He was given medical attention and was cleared to continue playing.
Four minutes later, he knocked in a corner from Austria captain David Alaba to give his team a lead it was to carry to the final whistle.
Baumgartner wasn’t as fortunate. He was replaced in the 32nd minute, walking off the field while holding his head.
Austria cane into Euro 2020 with zero wins, two draws, and only one goal scored from regular play in six games played in the 2008 and 2016 editions of the European Championship.
A 3-1 victory over North Macedonia in the opening group match was the team’s first victory at a major tournament in 31 years. Despite a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands, the Austrians finished in second place in Group C behind the Dutch and will next play against Italy in London on Saturday.
Ukraine is in third place in the group with three points and could still qualify for the round of 16 as one of the four best third-place teams. It will have to wait for confirmation when the other groups are finished.
Alaba played in the middle of a back three in the previous games, but he was at left back in a four-man defensive line on Monday, supporting the attack with well executed crosses and corner kicks from both sides.
Austria had more chances to score, particular from striker Marko Arnautović, but he missed the target when he had only Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan to beat late in the first half.
Ukraine tried to attack in the second half and Austria goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann saved a goal-bound header from teammate Stefan Lainer, who was under pressure following substitute Viktor Tsygankov’s cross in the second half.