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Guidetti seals Sweden win in Malta

Malta 1-2 Sweden
John Guidetti scored a free-kick with 20 minutes left as Sweden rallied from a goal down against their lowly qualifying Group 7 opponents.

John Guidetti (No10) celebrates scoring what proved to be the winning goal
John Guidetti (No10) celebrates scoring what proved to be the winning goal ©Domenic Aquilina

A goal 20 minutes from time by John Guidetti earned Sweden victory and condemned Malta to their seventh defeat in as many UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group 7 qualifiers.

The on-loan Stoke City FC striker completed a comeback that started when Aleksander Milošević equalised just before the half-hour mark, cancelling out Ryan Scicluna's early opener for the hosts. Sweden are third in the five-team section, five points behind leaders Poland with a game in hand.

Scicluna profited from a mistake by Filip Helander and calmly slotted the ball away from Sweden goalkeeper August Strömberg. Captain Milošević levelled after 29 minutes, bundling in Ludwig Augustinsson's corner, while before the half was out Guidetti's close-range header elicited an excellent save from Jurgen Borg.

However, Borg could get nowhere near Guidetti's 70th-minute free-kick, awarded after Daniel Zerafa had brought down Oscar Lewicki. Jean Paul Farrugia almost emulated Guidetti but his set piece hit the woodwork, and he was frustrated again late on when Strömberg repelled the forward's shot.

Lewicki told UEFA.com: "Winning today was very important. Malta were a difficult side to break down but I am very satisfied with the result. It all now depends on our two last home matches against Greece and Turkey."