Co-hosts Ukraine have caused a minor upset in the final match of the opening group stage fixtures of Euro2012 with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Sweden in Group D.
After a fairly even first half, Sweden took the lead in the 52nd minute via Zlatan Ibrahimovic who finished cleverly from close range after Kim Kallstrom found him from inside the area on the left following Seb Larsson’s cross from the right flank.
But Sweden’s lead lasted just three minutes as Ukraine icon Andriy Shevchenko scored his 47th goal for his country with a header from the edge of the six-yard box after nicking in front of Olof Mellberg to meet Andriy Iarmolenko’s left-footed cross from the right side.
Seven minutes after the leveller, Ukraine went ahead when Shevchenko lost his marker to get on the end of Yevhan Konoplianka’s corner from the left and slide a front post header in between Swedish defender Mikael Lustig and the upright, igniting the Kiev ‘custard bowl’.
The first half provided a couple of chances with Ibrahimovic causing some danger with his curling effort from just outside the area on the left in the 16th minute before Shevchenko shot across goal six minutes later as Ukraine surged.
In the 39th minute, Ibrahimovic was unlucky when he sent his header from the back post into the far upright from Larsson’s quick free-kick from the right before the AC Milan ace was so close to an equaliser in the 76th minute when he thundered the ball on target but Andriy Pyatov managed to get himself in the way although he didn’t know much about it.
Substitute Johan Elmander had a great chance to level for Sweden in the final minute of regular time when he ran onto Ibrahimovic’s clever flick but fired a bouncing ball well over the crossbar with his left foot moments before Mellberg’s attempt from an angle looped over the bar.
However, Erik Hamren’s Sweden fell in their opening game to Oleh Blokhin’s determined Ukraine outfit who created history by recording their first-ever win at the European Champions and they now have the hopes of a nation resting squarely on their shoulders.
Euro2012 – Group D
Ukraine: 2 (Andriy Shevchenko 55’/62’)
Sweden: 1 (Zlatan Ibrahimovic 52’)
Olympic Stadium, Kiev – 64,290
Yellow cards: UKR - nil
SWE - Kim Kallstrom 11’, Rasmus Elm 83’