Marco Meilinger scored the only goal at IF Elfsborg but a fifth successive UEFA Europa League victory was not enough to secure top spot in Group C for FC Salzburg.
The visitors were rewarded for their endeavour with a well-worked strike six minutes before the interval, Meilinger finishing off a fine move by stroking the ball into the net to open the scoring. Salzburg now host second-placed Esbjerg fB on the final matchday, knowing a point will suffice to win Group C and be guaranteed a home game in the second leg of their round of 32 tie.
The Austrian Bundesliga leaders rested key players for the trip to Sweden, including influential captain Jonatan Soriano. Regardless, Roger Schmidt's side dominated proceedings from the kick-off. Meilinger stung the hands of Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard from distance after five minutes, an effort which was followed almost immediately by Martin Hinteregger's header hitting the crossbar.
Sadio Mané passed up a superb chance to break the deadlock after half an hour: his shot was cleared off the line by Jon Jönsson before the Senegalese midfielder fired the rebound into the side netting. However, Meilinger's goal came soon afterwards to steady any nerves.
Elfsborg were forced into a change of goalkeeper at the start of the second half, with Abbas Hassan taking up the position between the posts. Klas Ingesson's team were much improved after the restart, and almost equalised when Jönsson had a header cleared off the line by Florian Klein.
Mané went close to doubling Salzburg's advantage, only to be denied by Hassan's brilliant one-handed stop, shortly before visiting forward Håvard Nielsen blazed wide with the goal gaping.