Swedes edge tough Moldova test
© AFP

Sweden held off a spirited performance from Moldova to claim a 2-1 victory in their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Solna. Victory for Sweden moved them level on nine points with second-placed Hungary, who meet Group E leaders Holland in Amsterdam.

Mikael Lustig gave the Scandinavians a 30th-minute lead, but they were never comfortable until Sebastian Larsson scored his first international goal eight minutes from time.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up the Birmingham midfielder to help make up for his first-half penalty miss, and the strike proved important after Alexandr Suvorov fired in a deserved goal for the visitors in stoppage time.

Sweden were given a tough time in the first half as the eastern Europeans, who had started the game level on points with Sweden, showed they would be no pushovers. The mercurial Ibrahimovic had almost opened the scoring with a stunning overhead kick that flew over before Viorel Frunza gave warning of his side's threat with a long-range effort that fizzed wide.

The Swedes' early nerves were settled by defender Lustig on the half-hour when he latched onto a Larsson assist to fire home from six yards. The hosts should have had a second just before half-time when Ibrahimovic was fouled in the area by Igor Armas, but the AC Milan striker's powerful penalty was blocked by Stanislav Namasco.

A second goal before the break would have been harsh on the Moldovans, who remained in the game deep into the second period, albeit without posing the same kind of threat. Eventually Sweden got the second goal they had been searching for when Ibrahimovic cleverly laid the ball inside for Larsson to squeeze his shot past Namasco.

With time ticking down Moldova got themselves on the scoreboard when the Sweden defence only partially cleared and Suvorov lashed home, with his unfancied right foot from just outside the area.