Sweden ended a run of five games against Denmark without a win to ensure they will take a 2-1 lead to Copenhagen for Tuesday's UEFA EURO 2016 play-off second leg.
In a tight opening period, Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel was the busier of the goalkeepers. Marcus Berg hoped his 18th-minute close-range effort would pay off, but Schmeichel stood firm. Then, with the very last kick of the half, Zlatan Ibrahimović's free-kick elicited an even more impressive save from Schmeichel, who got his left palm to a ball that was soaring towards the top corner.
Unfortunately for Denmark – just after Nicklas Bendtner had shot wide from a good position – Schmeichel had been beaten by that point. Jimmy Durmaz combined nicely with Mikael Lustig down the right for Sweden, and the full-back's low cross was met expertly by midfielder Emil Forsberg for his first international goal.
During the break, the big screen at Friends Arena showed replays of the four goals Ibrahimović grabbed against England on the stadium's opening night three years ago. The Sweden captain had never scored against Denmark but made amends five minutes into the second period as Forsberg was tripped by Thomas Kahlenberg and Ibrahimović put the ball firmly past Schmeichel, his 60th international strike.
Sweden thereafter looked in control, with Denmark able to force little but the odd corner. Yet it was from one such set piece that Nicolai Jørgensen was able to open his own national-team account, sliding in to make it 2-1 after fellow substitute Yussuf Poulsen had flicked on Christian Eriksen's dead ball. Denmark pushed hard for an equaliser but the away goal nonetheless gives them hope for Tuesday at Jørgensen's FC København club home, Parken Stadium.
Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
I am delighted with the victory – and it feels good to get the win because we have been lacking big results in recent games. That said, I am disappointed that we conceded. We were tired in the second half and Denmark used their substitutes to good effect, with two of them combining for their goal.
Sweden take the acclaim of their fans
It was a bit problematic that we lost Mikael Antonsson to a first-half injury – we had to change the game plan a bit and could not benefit from the fresh legs of a third sub in the last 15 minutes. We played a high-pressure game, my players had to run a lot, and if you throw in the early substitution, I had a lot of tired players in the second half.
However, it still feels good to get the victory. Of course it would feel better if it had been 2-0 instead, but we have the tie in our hands now having won the 'first half'.
Morten Olsen, Denmark coach
We're never content to lose, but we can be satisfied with 1-2. Our away goal ensures tension in Copenhagen. We started this game better, but then the Swedes came into it and started creating chances. We chose to change things around and it gave us options in the second half.
Tuesday will be another match altogether. There is do doubt that the fantastic support I expect from our home crowd will be a tremendous help. It is up to us together with the crowd to make it happen. The one goal we scored makes all the difference.