European Qualifiers: Sweden fight back to claim 1-1 draw against Russia in Stockholm
Last Updated: 09/10/14 10:29pm
Ola Toivonen filled the Zlatan Ibrahimovic role to snatch a 1-1 draw for Sweden in their European qualifier with Russia in Stockholm on Thursday.
Sweden were without their talisman Ibrahimovic for the Group G clash at the Friends Arena but Toivanen deputised well and swept home an equaliser early in the second half and cancelled out Aleksandr Kokorin's opener.
It otherwise proved a frustrating night for Sweden, who have now drawn their opening two fixtures, with Sebastian Larsson having a penalty saved by Igor Akinfeev.
Both sides started at a frenetic pace under the stadium's retractable roof, which was closed after recent heavy rain.
Jimmy Durmaz, who was impressive for Sweden throughout, created an early opening but Toivanen was unable to get on the end of Erkan Zegin's cross.
Fabio Capello's Russia quickly responded with Denis Glushakov shooting wide after a good move.
Russia then turned defence into attack to take the lead after 10 minutes.
Akinfeev gathered a Toivanen shot and sent the ball forward. Kokorin then finished a quick counter-attack with precision as he slid a low shot past Andreas Isaksson.
Sweden had a chance to reply just three minutes later as Durmaz cut the Russia defence open and took a superb return pass from Larsson only to be bundled over by Igor Smolnikov. Larsson stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick but Akinfeev saved well to his right.
Artem Dzyuba and Toivanen exchanged chances before the break but it was not until the second half that Sweden seriously threatened again.
They got back on level terms after 49 minutes when Durmaz whipped in a fine ball from the left and Toivanen timed his run to perfection to clip in the equaliser.
Durmaz tried his luck with an ambitious volley from distance but the best chance to win the game fell to Russia when Oleg Shatov broke clear only to blaze over after rounding Isaksson.