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Ibrahimović steers Sweden past Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan 0-1 Sweden
The visitors strengthened their hold on second place in Group C thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimović's goal inside 60 seconds.

Sweden celebrate their early goal in Kazakhstan
Sweden celebrate their early goal in Kazakhstan ©AFP/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimović struck in the first minute, but Sweden had to work hard to preserve their lead in Kazakhstan and keep up the pressure at the top end of FIFA World Cup qualifying Group C.

Kazakhstan kicked off the game in Astana and were swiftly back in the centre circle as Sweden made a slick start. Albin Ekdal supplied the ball for Ibrahimović, who got past his marker and sent a powerful low shot past Andrei Sidelnikov. However, if Erik Hamrén's side thought they were in for an easy night after that early breakthrough, they were very much mistaken.

Sergei Khizhnichenko almost got his side back on terms within three minutes, with Andreas Isaksson making an important save, and while the pace of the game dipped after that explosive opening, Andrei Finonchenko continued to marshal his side forward.

Sweden seemed content to defend their lead for much of the game but picked up the pace midway through the second half. Ekdal went close, but while his curling shot beat Sidelnikov, it smacked against a post. With minutes to go, Ibrahimović had a chance to get his second but Sidelnikov intervened with his legs.