Sweden 2-1 Denmark: Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty gives hosts lead
Last Updated: 17/11/15 12:44pm
Sweden will take a one-goal advantage into the second leg of their Euro 2016 play-off with Denmark after a 2-1 win in Stockholm.
Emil Forsberg opened the scoring with a close-range effort on the stroke of half-time, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic's penalty put the hosts firmly in command five minutes after the restart.
Ibrahimovic had a goal ruled out for offside as the Danes struggled to contain their hosts.
But 10 minutes from time, Nicolai Jorgensen scored a crucial away goal to halve the deficit. The goal means Denmark are still very much in the tie ahead of the second leg in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Denmark made the brighter start, with Tottenham's Christian Eriksen going close with a fierce drive from 25 yards that flew narrowly over.
Moments later, Sweden should have taken the lead - Kasper Schmeichel made a fine save from point-blank range to deny Marcus Berg.
The game took a while to heat up, but soon resembled a derby. First Nicklas Bendtner left his mark on Andreas Granqvist, before Thomas Kahlenberg caught Ibrahimovic with a late challenge at the Friends Arena.
Berg came close once again on the half-hour. Ibrahimovic flicked it through to his strike partner but the Panathinaikos striker dragged his shot horribly wide of the far post.
Sweden's attacking forays were becoming more frequent, and after lovely interplay between Mikael Lustig and Oscar Lewicki, Ibrahimovic struck just wide from the edge of the area.
Ibrahimovic was perhaps fortunate not to pick up the yellow card that would see him sit out the second leg when his elbow connected with William Kvist's face three minutes before the break.
Despite Sweden's dominance, Denmark almost scored against the run of play, Bendtner side-footing wide from five yards on 44 minutes.
And the hosts soon made him pay. Lustig surged forward once again before his cross found Forsberg unmarked in the area, and he finished with aplomb past a helpless Schmeichel.
There was even time for Ibrahimovic to draw a world-class save from Leicester's No 1 just before the break - his free-kick on the edge of the area expertly tipped round the post.
It was not long before Sweden extended their lead. Five minutes after the restart, Forsberg was brought down by Kahlenberg in the area.
Schmeichel went the right way from the resultant penalty, but he was powerless to stop Ibrahimovic from scoring his 60th international goal - a landmark strike in the week he was named his country's footballer of the year for a 10th time.
Ibrahimovic did have the ball in the back of the net once again shortly after, but his calm finish was ruled out for offside after finding himself one-on-one with Schmeichel.
Denmark grew as the second half progressed, and began to fashion the chances that would see them take a crucial away goal back with them to Copenhagen.
First Bendtner flashed a header just wide from an Eriksen corner, while the latter drew a smart finger-tip save from Andreas Isaksson from a narrow angle.
The pressure finally told with 10 minutes remaining, substitute Jorgensen giving them a vital lifeline when he prodded home from close range.
With Sweden increasingly on the back foot, Yussuf Poulsen's cross from the left was almost sliced into his own net by Erik Johansson from inside the six-yard box.
But that was as close as Denmark came to an equaliser. Their late goal giving them hope as they take an away goal with them back to the Parken Stadion for Tuesday's second leg.