Ibrahimović enjoys fairy-tale return

Sweden 6-0 San Marino Zlatan Ibrahimović marked his first match in his hometown of Malmo in nine years with two goals in a comprehensive win for Sweden.

Zlatan Ibrahimović breaks the deadlock for Sweden
Zlatan Ibrahimović breaks the deadlock for Sweden ©Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimović marked his first match in his hometown of Malmo in nine years with two goals in Sweden's 6-0 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying victory against San Marino.

Tickets had long been sold out for a match billed as the homecoming of Malmo's favourite son, and fittingly it was Ibrahimović who opened the floodgates after seven minutes. Two own goals helped extend their advantage and even Olof Mellberg's 34th-minute dismissal failed to stem the tide. Substitutes Andreas Granqvist and Marcus Berg were on target after half-time, scoring either side of star attraction Ibrahimović.

The AC Milan striker's opener was his stock in trade, collecting a long ball from Kim Källström, then holding off several defenders before firing in. It was soon 2-0 as Sebastian Larsson's right-wing cross was steered into his own net by Davide Simoncini and San Marino must have known it was not their night when his twin, Aldo, did likewise with another Källström centre.

It was unfortunate for the goalkeeper, whose side would have been further behind but for impressive saves to deny Emir Bajrami, Källström and Ola Toivonen. Mellberg's straight red card for a reckless challenge raised the visitors' hopes, but not for long as his replacement at centre-back, Granqvist, headed in Sweden's fourth following a corner.

Ibrahimović returned to centre stage with his second of the game 12 minutes from time and received a standing ovation when he departed soon after. His team-mates were treated to the same after the final whistle, but only after Berg had completed the rout to leave Sweden sitting pretty atop Group E, ahead of next month's opponents the Netherlands on goal difference.

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