Erton Fejzullahu scored four times to help Sweden to a victory against Kazakhstan which returns them to the top of UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 6.
Back on top
The NEC Nijmegen striker opened the scoring before the break and claimed three more in a 17-minute second-half period in which Albin Ekdal also found the target. Down to ten men late on, Kazakhstan pulled one back through Dmitri Shomko but having lost the group lead to Montenegro with their 1-0 win against Israel on Saturday, unbeaten Sweden restored their advantage on head-to-head record and still have a game in hand.
Sweden were dominant early on at the Malmö New Stadium, where they reached the 2009 semi-finals as hosts in June, but Samat Otarbayev held out until the 32nd minute when beaten by a fine solo run and shot from Fejzullahu. In a half-time interview he vowed to keep up the pressure and within five minutes had made it two after Rasmus Elm's corner had been touched on by Jasmin Sudic.
His third followed six minutes later and on the hour mark another Elm corner was headed in by Ekdal. It was from the same Elm source that Fejzullahu added Sweden's fifth in the 67th minute. Visiting captain Marat Shakhmetov received a second yellow card late on before his team-mate Shomko claimed a consolation goal as Kazakhstan ended their qualifying campaign on five points, one ahead of bottom side Bulgaria.
Elm, who will link up with the senior squad for Sweden's friendly in Italy on Wednesday, said: "We missed too many times in the first half and were not that consistent but we worked that out and improved after the break." Sweden and Montenegro would be joined on ten points by Israel on Wednesday if they beat Bulgaria. Jörgen Lennartsson and Tommy Söderberg's side resume their campaign in Israel on 4 June.