Serie A - Brilliant Ibrahimovic destroys Finland

Tue, 07 Jun 22:30:00 2011

Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his return to the Sweden team in style as his hat-trick inspired a 5-0 drubbing of Nordic rivals Finland in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

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Ibrahimovic, who had not played for the Swedish team since 2010 and missed the group E win at Moldova at the weekend through injury, came off the bench for the injured Ola Toivonen and scored two low finishes and a header as side made light work of a poor Finland.

Kim Kallstrom and Emir Najrami - his first international goal - were also on target at the Rasunda stadium in Solna, near Stockholm.

Sweden now lie three points behind runaway group leaders Netherlands, who have a 100 per cent record with six wins in six.

Ibrahimovic missed the 4-1 victory in Moldova on Friday to rest an ankle injury sustained playing for his club Milan, but produced a finishing masterclass after joining the fray in the 25th minute.

He netted his first six minutes after coming on, swivelling to fire home from close range to make it 2-0 after Kallstrom had fired Sweden ahead with a free-kick that eluded Finland keeper Anssi Jaakkola at his far post.

Ibrahimovic's second came four minutes after his first, Sebastian Larsson squaring him the ball for the simplest of finishes, and he could have had a hat-trick by half-time had he not fired a free-kick a fraction over in the 41st minute.

His third goal came early in the second half as he rose to nod home a free kick from deep on the right touchline.

Sweden took their foot of the gas a little in the second half, but Ibrahimovic still managed to play in winger Bajrami, who chipped the fifth goal over the onrushing Jaakkola with seven minutes left.

Reuters / Eurosport

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