Friday 12/3/21

Georgia shock Sweden 2-0 in WC qualifier despite Ibrahimovic return

The result was a shock for Sweden and their qualifying ambitions
FILED - 22 June 2016, France, Nice: Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic smiles before the start of a match. Veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been recalled to the Sweden squad for the first time since retiring from international football in 2016. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa
Sweden's veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa/File photo.

Youngster Khricha Kvaratskhelia upstaged returning superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he scored a brace in Georgia's stunning 2-0 upset over Sweden in World Cup qualifying on Thursday.

Kvaratskhelia opened the scoring against the flow of play on the hour in a goalmouth scramble after a free-kick in Batumi.

The 20-year-old from Russian side Rubin Kazan then had a curling shot well saved by Robin Olsen but the Sweden goalkeeper was beaten again in the 77th by Kvaratskhelia into the bottom left corner.

The result was a shock for Sweden and their qualifying ambitions but they were very wasteful in the first game for Ibrahimovic since March.

The 40-year-old AC Milan striker failed with two headers midway through the first half, with team-mates Viktor Claesson, Emil Forsberg and Alexander Isak also wasting top right opportunities.

Overtaken by Spain

At the end of the match, Sweden remained first in Group B but was later overtaken by Spain, who won in Greece later Thursday.

The two top sides meet in the final matchday showdown Sunday in Seville, with the group winner gaining direct entry to the 2022 finals in Qatar while the runner-up goes into play-offs.