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Zlatan special sees off Moldova
27 Mar 2015 23:11
There were plenty of goals but few surprises as the European qualifying campaign resumed on Friday night with a string of lop-sided wins.
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Five of the nine matches saw winning margins of three or more goals, and only Belarus' 2-1 win away to FYR Macedonia saw both teams find the net.
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There were no goals between Montenegro and Russia in Podgorica, but the match may yet have the biggest repercussions after it was abandoned in the 67th minute amid ugly scenes - with the players brawling on the pitch and objects being thrown from the stands.
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The match had already been suspended for almost half an hour after Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck by a lit flare barely a minute after kick-off, with the CSKA Moscow stopper unable to continue.
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Things were more straightforward in Group E as England thrashed Lithuania 4-0 and second-placed Slovenia kept pace six points behind with a 6-0 rout of San Marino.
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In Ljubljana, Slovenia smashed San Marino for six, with three of the goals coming in as many minutes after the break.
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Kevin Kampl, Andraz Struna and Milivoje Novakovic all scored in rapid succession after Josip Ilicic handed them an early lead, while Dejan Lazarevic and Branko Ilic finished the rout.
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The night's other Group E match saw Switzerland beat Estonia through goals from Fabian Schar, Granit Xhaka and Haris Seferovic, keeping them level on points with Slovenia after three straight wins.
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In Group C, Spain saw off Ukraine but they were made to sweat as Iker Casillas made a string of second-half saves in their 1-0 win in Sevilla.
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Alvaro Morata's 28th-minute goal proved the winner on a night when Spain enjoyed the vast majority of play, but the visitors had some of the best chances.
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However Spain, who have not lost a competitive match at home since June 2003, hung on for a win that keeps them on the coat-tails of Slovakia, who beat Luxembourg 3-0.
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That win came courtesy of first-half goals from Adam Nemec, Vladimir Weiss and Peter Pekarik.
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The night's other Group C game saw Belarus fight back to win 2-1 away to Macedonia.
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The home side went ahead early on through Aleksandar Trajkovski before Timofey Kalachev netted an equaliser just before the break and Kornilenko was on target with a winner after 82 minutes.
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The result moves Belarus up a spot into fourth at their opponents' expense as they sit eight points shy of second-placed Spain, while Bosko Gjurovski's men sit a point further behind in fifth.
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Austria remain top of Group G after a 5-0 win away to Liechtenstein.
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Martin Harnik and Marc Janko put Austria in firm control before the break, and although David Alaba missed a penalty before the break, the Bayern Munich man made amends in the second half before further goals from Zlatko Junuzovic and Marko Arnautovic.
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The victory means Austria stay four points clear at the top of the table, with second-placed Sweden keeping the pressure on with a 2-0 win against Moldova.
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic was inevitably the star of that particular show.
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The striker's 85th-minute penalty made the points safe but it was his first goal which captured the attention, as he charged down goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu's clearance and diverted the ball into the net with his head.
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However, the overall picture in the group will not become clear until UEFA makes a ruling on events in Podgorica, where there is the possibility of the match being replayed or a 3-0 win being awarded.
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