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Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Despair for Sweden as Montenegro get a late penalty.Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Zlatan scores but Sweden blow early lead

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his return from injury to give Sweden an early lead in their Euro 2016 Group G qualifier in Podgorica but in the end Erik Hamren's side had to settle for a point as a late Stevan Jovetic penalty gave hosts Montenegro a 1-1 draw.

Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic had missed Sweden's last two internationals with a heel injury but the gamble to start him from the off against Montenegro paid dividends as he fired the visitors into the lead in the 9th minute. There was a touch of fortune about the goal as Žarko Tomašević's clearance rebounded off midfielder Erkan Zengin back into the path of the Paris Saint-Germain striker who made no mistake with his finish, scoring his 51st goal in 101 internationals.

Hosts Montenegro caused problems from set-pieces with Stefan Savić heading against the bar but Sweden were looking the better side in the first-half but could not add to their 1-0 lead.

Ibrahimovic nearly scored his second of the night when his shot rattled the post with a powerful free-kick on 72 minutes but it was Montenegro who were to draw level on 77 minutes when Stevan Jovetic converted a penalty after Erkan Zengin fouled Vladimir Jovović in the area.

Ibrahimovic has now left the Swedish squad and will not play in next week's friendly against Euro 2016 hosts France, which will please his club manager at PSG:

The result left Sweden second in Group G on six points from four games, one ahead of Montenegro and Russia and four behind leaders Austria who beat the Russians 1-0 earlier on Saturday.

Post-match, Sweden's midfielder Albin Ekdal who missed a late chance and had a goal ruled out by the Scottish referee, gave his reaction to UEFA:COM: "We started well, Zlatan scored at a good time and we controlled the game. They played well in spells but didn't have much until the penalty."

"This is not a bad result, because this is a tough place to play. We didn't lose so our position in the group remains very good. Four teams are contenders for EURO 2016 and it will be a tough scrap until the end."

Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach said: "I am disappointed with the result. We took an early lead, then controlled the game. In the second half we hit the post. At the end of the day I am not satisfied with how my defence performed. Only when we conceded the equaliser did we go on the attack, but it was too late."

"I was worried about Ibrahimović's injury but he managed to play the whole game. We had Ibrahimović back after two months' absence and we had to exploit that, but we didn't."

"I don't want to talk about next spring but about what happened this autumn. Austria have started well in our group, but most of their matches have been at home. We drew three times against major rivals and I am satisfied with our results."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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