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Speedy Sweden wrap up top spot

Sweden 2-1 Ukraine
Hakan Ericson's side progressed to the play-offs from Group 2 after early goals from Astrit Ajdarević and Mikael Ishak put paid to Ukraine.

Serhiy Kryvtsov reacts to Ukraine's defeat
Serhiy Kryvtsov reacts to Ukraine's defeat ©Getty Images

A flying start from Sweden earned them the victory they needed against Ukraine to clinch top spot in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 2.

Sweden's defeat by Slovenia on Friday had left them requiring three points to finish first, but they dispelled any doubts with two goals inside the opening seven minutes in Kalmar. Astrit Ajdarević broke the deadlock when he headed in from a Miiko Albornoz corner after five minutes and it was quickly two as the goalscorer fed Mikael Ishak to place the ball calmly into the top corner.

Oleg Pushanko's Ukraine would have won the group themselves with a win, but instead they had to settle for third place behind Slovenia, who finished in the runners-up spot with 20 points. They never really recovered from those two early blows and might have lost a third goal in the second half as Ishak spurned a couple of good chances.

Although Andriy Bogdanov threw them a lifeline in the 82nd minute, when he found some space and struck a terrific goal from 25 metres, Sweden survived a late attack of nerves to claim their place in the play-offs. "We played a good game, although at the end we got a little nervous," said Sweden coach Hakan Ericson.