Ibrahi­movic on tar­get as Swedes edge Den­mark

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SOLNA: Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic scored his ninth goal in his last nine Euro­pean qual­i­fiers to give Swe­den a 2-1 win over Den­mark in the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off on Satur­day. The 34year-old striker con­verted a sec­ond half penalty af­ter Emil Fors­berg had scored his first in­ter­na­tional goal on the stroke of half-time as the Swedes seemed to be coast­ing to vic­tory.

But sub­sti­tute Ni­co­lai Jor­gensen grabbed an away-goal life­line for Den­mark 10 min­utes from time ahead of the sec­ond leg in Copen­hagen on Tues­day. Af­ter a minute’s si­lence to hon­our the vic­tims of the Paris at­tacks, Den­mark, the 1992 cham­pi­ons, dom­i­nated early pos­ses­sion but it was Swe­den who had the best open­ing. It fell to Panathi­naikos striker Mar­cus Berg in the 18th minute but his low, left-foot shot was well saved by Kasper Sch­me­ichel. Berg went wide of the tar­get on the half-hour mark af­ter be­ing re­leased by a fine pass from Ibrahimvic who was fu­ri­ous that he did not re­ceive a re­turn pass.

Ibrahi­movic was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly in­flu­en­tial as the game pro­gressed and just missed out on a goal af­ter a smart turn and drive. At the other end, Nick­las Bendt­ner squan­dered Den­mark’s best chance, miss­ing from just six yards out af­ter an in­ci­sive pass from Chris­tian Erik­sen. The Danes were made to pay when Swe­den grabbed the lead on the stroke of half­time. A back­heel from Jimmy Dur­maz al­lowed Mikael Lustig to sprint away down the right flank and his pass reached Fors­berg at speed and the Leipzig winger buried a first-time shot into the cor­ner past Sch­me­ichel.

The Den­mark goal­keeper res­cued his team just be­fore the half-time whis­tle with a div­ing save to deny Ibrahi­movic’s power-packed free­kick from just out­side the box.

Ibrahi­movic made it 2-0 five min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod, con­vert­ing a penalty af­ter Thomas Kahlen­burg had clum­sily tripped Fors­berg. It was the Paris Saint Ger­main star’s first goal against the Danes in seven matches.

But with 10 min­utes left, sub­sti­tute Jor­gensen latched onto a Yus­suf Poulsen flick-on from an Erik­sen cor­ner to boost Den­mark’s hopes of making the fi­nals in France next sum­mer. — AFP

SOLNA: Swe­den’s for­ward and team cap­tain Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic (2ndL) cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter scor­ing a goal dur­ing the Euro 2016 play-off foot­ball match be­tween Swe­den and Den­mark at the Friends arena in Solna on Satur­day. — AFP

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