FIFA WC Qualifiers: Sweden Edge Italy 1-0 in Play-off First Leg
A second-half goal by Sweden substitute Jakob Johansson was enough to beat Italy 1-0 and put his side in the driving seat after their World Cup playoff first leg on a chilly night.
Stockholm: A second-half goal by Sweden substitute Jakob Johansson was enough to beat Italy 1-0 and put his side in the driving seat after their World Cup playoff first leg on a chilly night.
Italy's Andrea Belotti sent an early header just wide but after that the visitors showed little ambition, seemingly hoping for a draw to take back to Milan for Monday's second leg as they battle for a place at next year's tournament in Russia.
That all changed when Johansson came off the bench to replaced Albin Ekdal in the 57th minute and four minutes later snapped up a flick-on from a throw-in and hammered the ball through a forest of legs where it was deflected into the net.
Matteo Darmian came closest to an equaliser, sending a shot cannoning off a post, but the visiting forward line failed to ignite and Italy are now in danger of missing the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958 in Sweden.
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