Sweden strengthen Euro qualifying hopes; Austria thrash Liechtenstein

Two goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Sweden a 2-0 win over Moldova on Friday to strengthen his team’s hopes of qualifying for the European championship.

Ibrahimovic’s 46th-minute opener was a gift from Moldovan goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu, who hit his clearance straight at the Sweden striker. Ibrahimovic reacted quickly to head the ball into the open net from just outside the area, and then added his second from the penalty spot in the 84th.

Sweden stays second in Group G, four points behind Austria, which strolled to a 5-0 win over Liechtenstein.

Austria scored three second-half goals as they thrashed Liechtenstein 5-0 to remain top of Group G.

Martin Harnik and Marc Janko put Austria in firm control before the break, and although David Alaba missed a penalty before the break, the Bayern Munich man made amends in the second half before further goals from Zlatko Junuzovic and Marko Arnautovic.

The victory means Austria stay four points clear at the top of the table, with second-placed Sweden keeping the pressure on with a 2-0 win against Moldova.

Elsewhere, third-place Russia’s match away to Montenegro was suspended for approximately 30 minutes after Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit by a flare thrown from the crowd. The match resumed with Akinfeev replaced by substitute Yuri Lodygin.

Akinfeev was taken to hospital in Podgorica where he received treatment for a neck injury and minor burns, hospital doctor Miljan Zindovic said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.