Swedes still dream of group stage

Four members of Sweden's five-team UEFA Cup contingent are still in with a chance of reaching the group stage after a testing night of European action.

Elfsborg celebrate James Keene's winner in Bucharest
Elfsborg celebrate James Keene's winner in Bucharest ©Getty Images

Four members of Sweden's five-team UEFA Cup contingent are still in with a chance of reaching the group stage after a testing night of European action.

Häcken thumped
Of the five teams who kicked off ties on Thursday evening, only one - second division BK Häcken who qualified for the competition through the Fair Play system - look to be out of the running, having lost 5-0 in the away leg of their first round tie against FC Spartak Moskva. However, for Helsingborgs IF, Hammarby, IF Elfsborg and AIK Solna, everything is still to play for.

Larsson double
Helsingborg were 3-0 down at half-time in their match at SC Heerenveen but managed to pull the score back to 3-2 before the Dutch side again opened up a three goal cushion. However, a late penalty from Henrik Larsson - his second goal of the night - meant the game finished 5-3 leaving the visitors with something to play for in the second leg. Some of their other Allsvenskan sides can look forward to their second legs even more.

Elfsborg shock
Reigning champions IF Elfsborg pulled off one of the results of the night as they earned a 2-1 away win against Romanian champions FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti. A goal down after just eight minutes in Bucharest, they struck back quickly and grabbed a winner through James Keene. "It was one of our best games of the season, and defensively, probably the best so far," said coach Magnus Haglund.

Creditable results
Hammarby rode their luck to earn a 2-1 win at home against SC Braga, with coach Tony Gustavsson saying of the Portuguese side: "They're very good with the ball, but we were patient and took our chances, and the pressure is now on them to score." AIK meanwhile, earned a creditable 0-0 draw at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC. Coach Rickard Norling said: "We had our minds set on defensive tactics and we stuck to the plan to perfection. It'll be a totally different game back at the Råsunda."

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