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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ljungberg grabs late winner for Sweden

Ljungberg grabs late winner for Sweden

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June 16, 2006 03:25 IST

Sweden midfielder Freddie Ljungberg grabbed a priceless late goal to grab a 1-0 Group B win that eliminated Paraguay at the World Cup on Thursday.

Ljungberg headed the ball into the bottom corner in the 89th minute after a right wing cross was headed back across goal by substitute Marcus Allback to hand Sweden the points.

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Ljungberg almost added a second in injury time with a long-range shot that Aldo Bobadilla pushed away for a corner as Sweden looked to finish off the plucky South Americans.

England top the group with six points from two games after beating Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 earlier and are sure to reach the last 16.

But Sweden, on four points, could top the group by beating England in the final game. Trinidad have one point and Paraguay are eliminated after two defeats.

Bobadilla had produced several quality saves to keep Paraguay in the game but it was in vain.

Before the goal Allback had come closest to breaking the deadlock but his shot on the turn 10 minutes from time was well saved by Bobadilla, who was in outstanding form.

SWEDISH PRESSURE

Roared on by a huge contingent of yellow-clad supporters among the 72,000 crowd at the Olympiastadion, the Swedes had piled on the pressure at the outset.

Midfielder Kim Kallstrom, promoted to the starting lineup after a strong performance as a substitute in Sweden's first match against Trinidad, which ended goalless, was a frequent threat to the South Americans' defence.

In the best moment of the first half, he forced an outstanding diving save from Aldo Bobadilla with a powerful shot from just outside the penalty area.

Paraguay tried hard but were unable to create many clear-cut chances.

Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had an excellent opportunity to give Sweden the lead just before halftime but his weak shot from close range was easily gathered by Bobadilla.

The Paraguayan keeper faced a tougher test in the 54th minute when Henrik Larsson curled a free kick round the wall but the Bobadilla got down quickly to push the ball wide.

Allback, a halftime substitute for Ibrahimovic, lobbed Bobadilla five minutes later only for Denis Caniza to hook the ball away just before it crossed the line.

Andrew Gray
Source:
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