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Euro 2016 qualifiers: Ibrahimovic brace helps Sweden win 3-1 vs Montenegro

Solna: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice just before half-time as Sweden defeated Montenegro 3-1 in their Euro 2016 qualifying Group G clash at the Friends Arena in Solna.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring against Montenegro
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring against Montenegro 

Following Russia's defeat to leaders Austria earlier on Sunday, the Swedes took full advantage to open up a four-point gap over third place.

Montenegro created an early chance when Dejan Damjanovic headed wide and then left-back Zarko Tomasevic went close following a corner.

Sweden soon began to find openings themselves, with Ibrahimovic testing Montenegro goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic, before the hosts swept into the lead on 38 minutes when Marcus Berg headed in a cross from Albin Ekdal.

Before the visitors could regroup, they were 2-0 down.

Ibrahimovic collected the ball on the left before cutting inside and drilling a low shot through the penalty area and into the far corner.

Sweden made it 3-0 a minute before the break. Sebastian Larsson sent a long ball forward to release Ibrahimovic through one-on-one, the Paris St Germain cooling slotting the ball into the net again.

To their credit, Montenegro rallied and looked to make a game of it as Damjanovic called Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson into action at the start of the second half.

Montenegro reduced the deficit when Damjanovic converted from the penalty spot after Stefan Mugosa was fouled by Erik Johansson.

Isaksson was kept busy during the closing stages as Sweden saw out the match and moved to within four points of Austria, whom they host in September.

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