Sweden survive Spanish scare

Spain 1-1 Sweden (agg: 1-3) An equaliser from Tobias Hysén secures the visitors' place in the finals.

Sweden will be in the finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship next May after a 1-1 draw in Spain gave Torbjörn Nilsson's side a 3-1 aggregate victory in the play-off for the final tournament.

Two-goal lead
Leading 2-0 from the first leg in Halmstad on Saturday thanks to goals from Alexander Farnerud and Kim Kallstrom, Sweden were immediately on the back foot at CF Extremadura's Francisco de la Hera stadium in Almendralejo. Spain pressed forward from the first whistle, and shots from Asier Del Horno Casgaya, Ángel López and Albert Riera all forced Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson into action inside the first 15 minutes.

Castro strikes
Riera proved to be Spain's most dangerous player during the first half and it was his twisting run that created the opening for Rubén Castro to flick the opening goal into the net on 22 minutes. The Spaniards came close to doubling their lead 15 minutes later when Isaksson struggled to keep out a stinging long-range effort from Del Horno Cosgaya, with Castro just unable to connect with the rebound at full stretch.

Decisive moment
Spain continued to press as the second half got under way, but Isaksson produced a stunning save to foil Castro with his feet as the Swedish defence held firm. The visitors looked more threatening as Spain began to tire, and effectively wrapped up an aggregate victory – and a place in the finals – with 21 minutes remaining, as substitute Tobias Hysén was left unmarked on the left to beat goalkeeper José Reina.

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