European Qualifiers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic nets as Sweden and Montenegro share draw
Last Updated: 19/11/14 10:01am
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his return for Sweden but it was not enough for victory as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Montenegro in Podgorica.
Coach Erik Hamren admitted in the build-up to the match that Ibrahimovic is not yet fully fit after a heel injury, but put him in the starting line-up regardless and it paid off when he opened the scoring after nine minutes.
But the Paris St Germain forward then missed a number of chances to double the lead, striking a post in the 72nd minute, and Sweden paid a price as Stevan Jovetic levelled from the penalty spot with 11 minutes left.
The draw is enough to nudge Sweden into second place in Group G after Russia's defeat to Austria, while Montenegro are now level on points with Fabio Capello's side.
Vladimir Jovovic went close with an early effort for Montenegro, but Sweden nabbed the lead when Ibrahimovic stabbed the ball home from close range in the ninth minute after a deflection had fallen kindly for him.
Montenegro immediately tested Andreas Isaksson in response, but the goalkeeper comfortably held Jovetic's header from an Elsad Zverotic corner.
Sweden were still doing most of the attacking, however, with Kim Kallstrom sending a free-kick over while Ibrahmovic met Jimmy Durmaz's cross but could not keep the ball down.
With 10 minutes left in the half, Ibrahimovic sent a shot whistling past the post, while Isaksson again denied the lively Jovetic at the other end.
The second half was slow to get going, with the first chance of note coming when Jovetic sent a shot wide from outside the area in the 63rd minute.
When Marko Basa fouled Albin Ekdal, Ibrahimovic lined up the free-kick but saw it strike a post.
Montenegro took encouragement, with Basa blazing over from close range before Oscar Wendt fouled Vladimir Jovovic and Jovetic coolly slotted home from the spot despite Isaksson going the right way.