June 11, 2013: World Cup 2014 Qualifier, Group C:
Sweden – Faroe Islands 2-0 (1-0)
35' 1-0 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
82' 2-0 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pen)
When Sweden’s Andreas Granqvist was sent off in the 78th minute, the Faroe Islands were eyeing an opportunity for an equalizer, but before they had blinked, Zlatan Ibrahimovic knew exactly how to fall from a clumsy challenge to get a penalty which he safely converted himself to secure the win.
Sweden had taken a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute when Mikael Lustig had acres of space on the right hand side where he made a cross that deflected off a defender to an unmarked Ibrahimovic to tap in from close range. But how can they forget to mark that man?
Before that, the Faroese defence had done well to keep Sweden from too many scoring opportunities; a wide header and another straight on goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen being their best opportunities.
Sweden were close at doubling their lead a couple of minutes after the break when a ball behind the Faroese defence left Ibrahimovic clear, but for once his first touch left him down to let the chance go begging.
In the 51st minute, the Faroes were robbed for a clear penalty when Ola Toivonen clearly pulled the shirt of Jóan Símun Edmundsson. Incredible that at least the linesman didn’t notice it, but the small nations rarely get any favours from the officials.
It was probably bad karma when Toivonen then squandered a great opportunity after 74 minutes when he was played clear, but Nielsen made an outstanding block with his legs. Just moments before, Toivoned had missed another fine opportunity when he completely miss-hit the ball.
A couple of minutes later, the Faroes again fell victim of a bad decision from the referee as he waved Símun Samulesen off side when he was clearly not, just a he was getting clear on goal on the right hand side.
However, the referee did get it right two minutes later when he gave marching orders to Granqvist who agressively had pushed Fróðin Benjaminsen on the head.
With twelve minutes remaining, this was the opportunity for the Faroes, but but when right back Jonas Tór Næs rather clumsily stuck out a leg that slightly touched Ibrahimovic who knew exactly how to fall to get the penalty. He executed it himself to perfection to decide the match.
Maybe Ibrahimovic was lucky to be on the pitch then, as he in one incident had collided with central defender Atli Gregersen, and had the referee seen it, it could well have earned the superstar a red card, as it looked like he quite intentionally had his elbows quite high.
The Faroe Islands’ next qualifier isn’t until 6 September when they visit Kasakstan.