Sheva double sends Ukraine top of Group D
Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko celebrates after he scores his side's equalising goal
The tournament co-hosts defeated Sweden 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev to go top of Group D after the earlier match between France and England ended in a 1-1 draw.
Ukraine had to come from behind after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put the Scandinavians 1-0 up, but it was to be Shevchenko’s night.
After a dour opening 20 minutes, the match began to come to life midway through the first half when Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko was gifted with the first opening of the match, but he pulled his effort wide of the target from a tight angle.
On 35 minutes Andriy Voronin tested Sweden’s Andreas Isaksson with a long range drive that forced the first notable save made by either goalkeeper.
It was to signal the start of a frantic few minutes in which Andriy Yarmolenko saw a goal-bound shot deflected away for a corner kick, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a free header from which he skimmed the outside of the far post.
Despite the increase in attacking tempo, the first half ended 0-0. The start of the second promised much more and it quickly delivered. Sweden surged ahead somewhat against the run of play on 52 minutes when Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned home Kim Kallstrom’s low pass from close range.
The opening goal, scored while Ukraine had a man down injured, seemed to get the hosts angry and they struck back just three minutes later. Oleh Husyev provided an inch-perfect cross from the right and Shevchenko buried the ball into the back of the net with a superb diving header.
Just past the hour mark Ukraine surged into a 2-1 lead through another Sheva header. The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker got on the end of a corner kick and glanced a header home at the near post to send the Olympic Stadium into delirium.
Sweden used all three substitutes in quick succession to rejuvenate their attack, but Ibrahimovic remained the main threat, and he saw his fearsome 76th minute drive spooned away by Andriy Pyatov.
Ibrahimovic also created Sweden’s most glaring chance to level the game, chipping a clever ball over the defence for substitute Johan Elmander, but the striker blasted his effort wide when a more considered finish would have levelled the game.