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Petersen's penalty saves deny Sweden

Sweden 1-1 Denmark
Two second-half penalty saves from Stina Petersen thwarted the hosts in their Group A opener after two club-mates had scored.

Petersen's penalty saves deny Sweden
Petersen's penalty saves deny Sweden ©UEFA.com

Hosts Sweden were held by Denmark in an exciting UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group A match thanks to two Stina Petersen penalty saves.

Linköpings FC supplied three starters for the hosts, but it was one of their two Denmark players, Mariann Gajhede Knudsen, that opened the scoring midway through the first half. Club-mate Nilla Fischer headed an equaliser soon after. Denmark were then relieved when Petersen stopped Lotta Schelin's 67th-minute penalty and five minutes from the end she repeated the trick from Kosovare Asllani.

Inspired perhaps by the colourful opening ceremony, Sweden surged forward, Schelin finding strike partner Asllani, who shot over. Not long after, Asllani laid off to Caroline Seger, whose strike also missed the target.

Denmark's familiar 4-3-3 formation soon gave them width through Katrine Veje and Johanna Rasmussen, two of five Swedish-based players in their starting XI. And on 25 minutes another of that quintet got the first goal of the finals, Knudsen winning the ball off Seger in midfield, surging forward and curling in a shot from the edge of the box.

That spurred the 1,000 Denmark fans in a sell-out 16,128 crowd into action and they immediately pressed for a second. But in the 35th minute, out of the blue, Sweden levelled, Sara Thunebro’s free-kick from the centre circle headed in by big defender Fischer. A surge of energy went through the stadium and Sweden looked for a half-time lead, Asllani having a header cleared off the line and then forcing a Petersen save.

Kenneth Heiner-Møller, starting his last tournament as Denmark coach, responded by introducing Nadia Nadim at the break, but Sweden began the half the brighter. Christina Ørntoft made a crucial tackle on Asllani, while at the other end Nadim's diving header did not trouble Kristin Hammarström, starting alongside her twin and Göteborg FC team-mate Marie.

Then came a crazy passage of play. Kristin Hammarström made a brilliant double save from Nadim and Rasmussen, Sweden broke and Ørntoft tripped Asllani in the box. Tournament poster girl Schelin stepped up for the penalty but was denied by the diving Petersen.

In an open last 20 minutes either side could have won it, and it looked like being Sweden after Theresa Nielsen's handball in the area. Asllani volunteered this time, but Petersen stood firm again. On Saturday, Sweden stay here to face Finland and Denmark play Italy in Halmstad with all four sides on one point.

Player of the match: Stina Petersen

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