Montenegro spirit key to stopping Sweden
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Goalscorer Stevan Jovetić and Dejan Damjanović praised Montenegro's spirit after they held Sweden 1-1 to the frustration of Albin Ekdal and Erik Hamrén.
Article top media content
•Montenegro hold Sweden 1-1 despite Zlatan Ibrahimović’s early strike
• Stevan Jovetić's penalty seals a draw he felt was deserved
• Dejan Damjanović relieved but Sweden's Albin Ekdal disappointed
• Next games: Montenegro v Russia, Moldova v Sweden (27 March)
Stevan Jovetić, Montenegro captain
We conceded an early goal and it was difficult to react. But we played well in some parts of the game, had several chances and I think we deserved this point.
Dejan Damjanović, Montenegro striker
This is not bad because we started 1-0 down. There was huge pressure after that goal, but I think we showed great team spirit and gave everything to overturn it. Luckily, Ibrahimović hit the post and we got a penalty. The group remains wide open, Austria are in a good position now, but there are still lots of points at stake.
Branko Brnović, Montenegro coach
I am satisfied with the draw after all the injuries we had before the game. We lost our captain Mirko Vucinić three days ago; after him defender Marko Simić felt pain in his shoulder and was unable to help us.
Credit to my players, they fought hard for this result. Our youngsters Vladimir Jovović, Branislav Janković and Marko Bakić helped us to equalise in the second half and I have to congratulate them.
This result is fair. We could have won, but we could also have lost, so I have to be satisfied with this point. This is a crazy group, every point is worth its weight in gold. We dropped two points in Liechtenstein, then Liechtenstein won in Moldova. We definitely expected to get more points but we still have a chance. I think Austria will win the group so Sweden, Russia and ourselves will fight for the next two spots.
Albin Ekdal, Sweden midfielder
We started well, Zlatan scored at a good time and we controlled the game. They played well in spells but didn't have much until the penalty.
This is not a bad result, because this is a tough place to play. We didn't lose so our position in the group remains very good. Four teams are contenders for EURO 2016 and it will be a tough scrap until the end.
Sebastian Larsson, Sweden midfielder
We were very close to getting three points but this is not a disappointing result. Montenegro were dangerous from free-kicks and scored from a set play. We knew from the beginning it would be a tough group but we believe we can make it.
Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
I am disappointed with the result. We took an early lead, then controlled the game. In the second half we hit the post. At the end of the day I am not satisfied with how my defence performed. Only when we conceded the equaliser did we go on the attack, but it was too late.
I was worried about Ibrahimović's injury but he managed to play the whole game. We had Ibrahimović back after two months' absence and we had to exploit that, but we didn't.
I don't want to talk about next spring but about what happened this autumn. Austria have started well in our group, but most of their matches have been at home. We drew three times against major rivals and I am satisfied with our results.