Twenty six minutes into the game, Hungarian midfielder Laszlo Kleinheisler marked his international debut by shooting past goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland for the only goal of the game. The Hungarians then soaked up constant pressure from the Norwegians to keep their advantage until the end of the match.
"It's a tremendous goalkeeper blunder," Morten Langli, VG's live commentator said of Nyland's mistake, in which Byland clipped the ball with his hand but failed to stop it going into the net.
"Obviously we are disappointed with the result," Norwegian coach Per-Mathias Høgmo told TV Norge. "It was a game where, in terms of statistics, we were ahead all the way, and it was really pretty good. We were not effective enough."
The Hungarian team won despite the death earlier that day of their international goalkeeper Marton Fulop, who lost a battle with cancer at the age of 32. The team wore black armbands in memory of the 24-capped goalkeeper.
"We played with discipline despite being under great pressure," said Hungary coach Bernd Storck. "We must not forget that we have a huge 90 minutes still to play on Sunday,"
Norway had the better exchanges in the first half and should have been ahead as early as the third minute.
Markus Henriksen sped down the left before cutting the ball back to Per Skjelbred who had been left in space inside the penalty area.
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But his close-range drive was spectacularly parried away one-handed by 39-year-old goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly who was making his 100th international appearance.
The second leg of the play-off is in Budapest on Sunday.