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Sweden edge past Lithuania

Lithuania 0-1 Sweden
Mervan Celik struck in the dying minutes to give Sweden a winning start in Group 2 and consign Lithuania to a third straight defeat.

Ivo Pekalski of Sweden in action away to Lithuania
Ivo Pekalski of Sweden in action away to Lithuania ©Valdas Knyzelis

Sweden made a winning start to their 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign after an 89th-minute Mervan Celik goal gave them a 1-0 win in Lithuania.

The hosts have now lost all three of their Group 2 fixtures, but were perhaps unfortunate not to get a point against Sweden after an even encounter where both sides had their chances. Substitute Celik was the difference, though, driving in from the edge of the area.

After a cautious opening, the visitors were the first to show their hand but John Guidetti was denied in spectacular fashion by Emilijus Zubas, after the striker was put in by Astrit Ajdarevic's clever back-heel. Ivo Pekalski then hit the bar following a weak clearance as Sweden upped the ante. Lithuania soon responded, Fedor Černych going agonisingly close after a clever turn and shot left visiting goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson stranded.

Half-time substitute Edvinas Petkus then shot wide when well placed two minutes after coming on, and just before the hour Artūras Žulpa had the hosts' best chance to break the deadlock. However, after great work by Karolis Jarmalavičius, Žulpa could not convert his team-mate's low cross from five metres. It was to prove costly as, with game heading towards a draw, Celik walked on to Erdin Demir's lay-off and fired through the grasp of Zubas.