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First-time scorers help Sweden past Moldova

Sweden 2-1 Moldova
Mikael Lustig and Sebastian Larsson opened their international accounts as Sweden won for the third time in four Group E matches.

Sebastian Larsson takes the plaudits after scoring Sweden's second goal against Moldova
Sebastian Larsson takes the plaudits after scoring Sweden's second goal against Moldova ©Getty Images

Mikael Lustig and Sebastian Larsson were the unlikely scorers as Sweden defeated Moldova in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E.

Neither player had registered an international goal before the victory in Solna, which lifted Erik Hamrén's team into second spot in the section behind the Netherlands. Lustig's 30th-minute opener and Larsson's late effort sandwiched Stanislav Namaşco's penalty save from Zlatan Ibrahimović before Alexandru Suvorov's 92nd-minute effort set up a tense, if brief, finale for the hosts.

Lustig's opener came when he was found by Kim Källström's through ball, and though the right-back was faced by a tight angle, his finish was helped into the net by the outstretched leg of Moldova's Igor Armaş. Sweden should have gone into the break with more than a one-goal lead as, aside from Ibrahimović's failure from the spot, they often poured forward in waves, Emir Bajrami the driving force from the left wing.

Within five minutes he had found Ibrahimović, whose first-time pass set up Källström to fire powerfully off target. Ibrahimović had an effort deflected wide soon after, having been teed up by Bajrami, and two minutes before the break, the AC Milan striker squandered an even better chance to double his team's lead having been brought down in the area by Petru Racu.

Despite that setback, Sweden continued to control proceedings after the break, albeit without creating as many chances as in the first half. However, just as it seemed Lustig's strike would prove decisive, Larsson drifted in from the right and finished with his right foot from ten metres. It was a good job for Sweden that they had that cushion, even if Suvorov's fine volley from the edge of the box arrived too late for the visitors.