Sweden Edge Georgia 1–0 As Ibra Makes Winning Return

Sweden
Soccer Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group B – Sweden v Georgia – Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden – March 25, 2021 Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after teammate Viktor Claesson scores their first goal TT News Agency via REUTERS/Janerik Henriksson

STOCKHOLM ⸺ Zlatan Ibrahimovic created the only goal for Viktor Claesson as Sweden beat Georgia 1-0 on his return to international football in their opening Group B World Cup qualifier on Thursday.

Returning after an absence of almost five years, 39-year-old AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic became the oldest player to represent Sweden, beating the record of 38 years and 59 days previously held by goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli. 

The visitors threatened early on the break but the Swedes gradually grew into the game as their attacking quarter of Ibra, Claesson, Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski took over. 

Soccer Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group B – Sweden v Georgia – Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden – March 25, 2021 Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action with Georgia’s Lasha Dvali TT News Agency via REUTERS/Pontus Lundahl

Sweden went ahead 10 minutes before the break when Ibra chested down a ball into the box and volleyed it back at a tight angle for Claesson to take a touch and bundle home. 

With the Swedes often careless in possession, Georgia fashioned a few decent chances and the best of them fell to substitute Levan Shengelia in the 82nd minute, but Kristoffer Nordfeldt made a superb save to keep his clean sheet intact. 

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Ibrahimovic failed to add to his tally of 62 international goals before being replaced by Robin Quaison in the 84th and adjourning to the bench to watch his side hold on for the win. 

Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris; Reuters

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