Austria, Sweden draw in qualifier

2014-09-09 07:51
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Getty Images)

Vienna — Sweden midfielder Erkan Zengin scored his first international goal to help his team draw with Austria 1-1 in a European Championship qualifier on Monday.

Also in Group G, Russia downed Liechtenstein 4-0 to lead after the opening round, and Montenegro beat Moldova 2-0.

Zengin controlled the ball on the chest before hammering it past goalkeeper Robert Almer in the 12th minute to level the score.

Shortly after scoring, Zengin came close again with another thundering strike past Almer though the bal hit the crossbar.

David Alaba had given Austria the lead five minutes earlier, scoring from the penalty spot after Sebastian Larsson blocked an attempted cross from the Austria midfielder with his arm.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was well marked by the Austria defense and remained low-key in his 100th game for the national team — the 10th Swedish player to achieve the feat.

Ibrahimovic never came close to scoring and was booked in the first half after hitting Alaba with his elbow and roughly tackling Martin Harnik within two minutes.

"You saw another side of Zlatan today because he was working really hard for the team," Sweden coach Erik Hamren said. "I am happy with the result, I am also happy with the game ... I am sure it's going to be a really important point in qualifying."

Austria created more chances in front of 48,500 spectators in the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium but Harnik in the 38th and Julian Baumgartlinger two minutes later saw their shots saved by Sweden keeper Andreas Isaksson, while Mark Janko headed just wide in the 54th.

"We made the game and were unlucky we lost our lead so soon," Austria coach Marcel Koller said. "Sweden played very defensively and it's a pity we couldn't take more advantage of it."

Earlier, Russia was handed a 2-0 lead by own goals from Liechtenstein midfielder Martin Buechel, who deflected Sergei Ignashevich's free kick in the fourth, and defender Franz Burgmeier in the 50th minute.

Dmitri Kombarov converted a penalty kick in the 54th and Artem Dzyuba scored 11 minutes later to double the score for coach Fabio Capello's team.

Mirko Vucinic gave Montenegro the lead against Moldova in injury time of the first half, and Zarko Tomasevic doubled the score in the 73rd.

The top two teams of each group and the best No. 3 will qualify directly, while all remaining third-place teams will advance to a playoff.


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