World Cup qualifying: Sweden leave it late to edge out Austria
Last Updated: 11/10/13 10:28pm
Marko Arnautovic and Johan Elmander tangle.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winner as Sweden recovered from a half-time deficit to defeat Austria 2-1 in their World Cup qualifying group.
Austria were on course to join second-placed Sweden on 17 points in Group C after Martin Harnik's 29th-minute strike gave them the lead.
However, Sweden drew level soon after the interval through Martin Olsson and star striker Ibrahimovic then struck the winning goal with four minutes left to ensure his side will finish second in Group C behind winners Germany.
A disappointing second half for Austria was summed up when they lost Stoke striker Marko Arnautovic to a straight red card in the closing stages.
It was looking a lot more promising for the visitors an hour earlier as a neat finish Harnik put them in front, the Trabzonspor forward sweeping the ball home at the far post following Marc Janko's lay-off.
Sweden may have felt unlucky to have been a goal down at that stage as Alex Kacaniklic, Ibrahimovic and Johan Elmander had all been denied by visiting goalkeeper Robert Almer before that, but the hosts could also just as easily have been 2-0 behind moments later as Andreas Isaksson superbly denied David Alaba with his feet.
Isaksson then saved from Aleksander Dragovic as the visitors sought a second goal before the break.
Sweden held firm though and then drew level 10 minutes into the second half when Olsson headed home Ibrahimovic's cross.
Boosted by that goal, the home side turned up the pressure and Ibrahimovic and Anders Svensson drew fine saves out of Almer.
Despite that, it looked as though Sweden would have to settle for a point as the match edged towards full-time still locked at 1-1, but captain Ibrahimovic had other ideas as he brilliantly brought down Olsson's long ball forward before slotting a left-footed shot past Almer to seal the win.
Sweden will have been hugely relieved to have got the victory as their final match pitches them against Germany, while Austria, who saw Arnautovic dismissed for violent conduct late on, travel to basement dwellers Faroe Islands.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 11th Oct - Group B
Armenia2 - 1Bulgaria
Malta1 - 4Czech Rep
Denmark2 - 2Italy
Fri 11th Oct - Group G
Lithuania2 - 0Latvia
Bosnia4 - 1Liechtenstein
Greece1 - 0Slovakia
Fri 11th Oct - Group A
Croatia1 - 2Belgium
Wales1 - 0Macedonia
Fri 11th Oct - Group F
Azerbaijan2 - 0N Ireland
Luxembourg0 - 4Russia
Portugal1 - 1Israel
Fri 11th Oct - Group H
Moldova3 - 0San Marino
Ukraine1 - 0Poland
England4 - 1Montenegro
Fri 11th Oct - Group C
Faroe Islands1 - 1Kazakhstan
Sweden2 - 1Austria
Germany3 - 0Rep Ireland
Fri 11th Oct - Group E
Albania1 - 2Switzerland
Slovenia3 - 0Norway
Iceland2 - 0Cyprus
Fri 11th Oct - Group D
Netherlands8 - 1Hungary
Andorra0 - 4Romania
Estonia0 - 2Turkey
Fri 11th Oct - Group I
Spain2 - 1Belarus
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I