Five-star Sweden score big win over Azerbaijan

Emil Forsberg celebrates after scoring a goal against Azerbaijan in 2024 Euro qualifying.
Emil Forsberg celebrates after scoring a goal against Azerbaijan in 2024 Euro qualifying.
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Substitute Jesper Karlsson scored a brilliant late free kick and Anthony Elanga added a superb solo goal as Sweden hammered Azerbaijan 5-0 in their Group F European Championship qualifier on Monday.

After a terrible team performance against Belgium, in which Romelu Lukaku scored a hat trick in their first group game, the Swedes came out blazing and Alexander Isak had a goal ruled out for offside before Emil Forsberg scored in the 38th minute.

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Deployed on the left wing, Forsberg went on a driving run through the heart of the Azerbaijan defence before clipping a shot past the unsighted goalkeeper.

Sweden doubled their advantage in the 65th minute as Bahlul Mustafazada steered an Isak cross into his own net, and 14 minutes later Viktor Gyokeres made it 3-0 with a tap-in from Karlstrom's pass.

The two best goals of the game came from substitutes as Karlsson buried a perfectly placed free kick in the 88th minute, and Elanga added the final goal a minute later with a superb run, rounding the keeper before slotting home.

The win lifts Sweden to third spot in the group on three points, with Austria, who beat Estonia 2-1, top and the Belgians second.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the match on Monday because of injury, but Sweden coach Janne Andersson didn't disclose the precise nature of the AC Milan striker's problem.

"It's really frustrating for him and really frustrating for us. Unfortunately, that's where we are," Andersson said before the game of Ibrahimovic, who made his first national team appearance in the loss to Belgium.

Ibrahimovic has recently returned to fitness after nearly eight months out with a knee injury.