Swedes sunk by Shevchenko
Veteran striker nets brace as co-hosts Ukraine make winning start
Last Updated: 11/06/12 11:51pm
Ukraine talisman Andriy Shevchenko netted two goals in seven minutes to see off Sweden 2-1 as the co-hosts took the upper hand in Euro 2012 Group D.
It was Sweden who broke the deadlock after a goalless first half when captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic tapped home a Kim Kallstrom cross in the 52nd minute.
But the co-hosts wasted little time pulling themselves level, with veteran striker Shevchenko grabbing his first just three minutes later, heading in an Andriy Yarmalenko cross.
The 35-year-old ex-Chelsea man then popped up again soon after to nod home Oleh Gusev's corner.
The win sends Oleg Blokhin's men into the top spot after France and England shared the spoils earlier on Monday evening, with the Swedes slipping to the bottom.
England will have taken comfort from Sweden's unconvincing display ahead of their meeting on Friday.
There was little on show to concern Roy Hodgson's side, who will also have been encouraged by the vulnerability of the Ukrainians.
The first moment of real danger arrived in the 17th minute when Ibrahimovic floated in a superb cross that prompted the swift intervention of goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.
In the 23rd minute it was Sweden's turn to panic when Andriy Yarmolenko sent Shevchenko racing in on goal.
Even though he was shooting from a tight angle, Shevchenko should have done better with the chance but failed to connect cleanly with a shot that bobbled across the face of goal.
Andriy Voronin almost made contact with a long ball into the box as the Ukrainians, whose squad was struck by a bug last week, continued to press.
Sweden forced a save from Pyatov following Markus Rosenberg's turn and shot and a mazy run from Ibrahimovic ended when he was dispossessed by Oleg Gusev.
Goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson kept out Andriy Yarmolenko as Ukraine went on the offensive, but moments later Sweden should have taken the lead.
Sebastian Larsson teed up Ibrahimovic with a wonderful cross but the unmarked AC Milan striker headed a glorious opportunity against the right post.
Ibrahimovic would not be denied in the 53rd minute, however, when he became the beneficiary of some poor defending from the hosts.
Kim Kallstrom nudged another fine cross from Larsson into the path of Ibrahimovic and the towering marksman made no mistake with the simple tap-in.
But three minutes later Ukraine were level, a fine diving header bringing Shevchenko his 47th international goal after Yarmolenko had made the initial inroads.
And in the 62nd minute Ukraine took the lead, with Shevchenko on target once more.
Gusev whipped in a corner to the near post that was met by the former Chelsea striker, who took advantage of a static Ibrahimovic to nod home.
Pyatov looked far from convincing as he floundered to keep out a volley and follow-up header from Ibrahimovic.
Sweden substitute Johan Elmander should have rescued a late point but he blazed a one-on-one with the goalkeeper over the crossbar and moments later defender Olof Mellberg, thrown forward in desperation, followed suit.
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European Championships Group D
Ukraine v Sweden
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