Despite the frustration of a host of missed opportunities, forward Zlatan Ibrahimović took comfort in the three-point gain from Sweden's 2-1 defeat of Moldova in Solna on Tuesday, saying: "I missed a penalty but we won the match, which was important."
Captain Ibrahimović wasted a number of presentable chances to give Sweden a more comfortable victory in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E – the best being a spot kick two minutes before half-time with his side already leading. However, Stanislav Namaşco denied the AC Milan striker his 26th international goal with a fine save.
"We missed far too many chances," said the 29-year-old. "I missed a penalty but we won the match, which was important. We've played four matches in the group, won three and lost one." Ibrahimović also had mixed emotions about his own performance, in which he regularly got into goalscoring positions yet was unable to apply the finishing touch. "I moved well and had a lot of the ball, but I should have scored with all the chances I had."
While defender Mikael Lustig echoed the skipper's sentiments, he found consolation not only in a result that took Sweden second in Group E, but also in his first goal for his country, which arrived after half an hour of profligacy from Ibrahimović and Johan Elmander. "We're not really happy with the display but we got the points," said the right-back. "I was just trying to get to the ball before it went out and I have to thank [Moldova defender Igor Armaş] for helping me steer the ball into the goal."
None of the Moldovans are as familiar with Swedish football as full-back Petru Racu, who plays for Allsvenskan club IFK Norrköping, and the 23-year-old was generous in defeat. "After four years in Sweden I wasn't surprised by their tactics of quick attacks and crosses into their big forwards," he said. "They deserved the win. When they made it 2-0 it felt like they had the match under control."
Nonetheless, Sebastian Larsson did not have the final say with his 82nd-minute strike, as Alexandru Suvorov's added-time effort made for a tense finale. It also gave Gavril Balint's charges cause for optimism ahead of Sweden's visit on 3 June. "We congratulate them and look forward to welcoming them in two months' time to Moldova, where we might get an even better result," Racu continued. "We always play better at home."
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