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Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 21:43 GMT 22:43 UK
Nilsson salvages draw for Swedes

Kennet Andersson is outjumped by Fernando Hierro
Roland Nilsson fired home from the penalty spot 14 minutes from time to salvage a draw for Sweden against Euro 2000 rivals Spain in Gothenburg.

Nilsson, Sweden's oldest player at 37, slotted home for only his second goal in 111 internationals after Fredrik Ljungberg was tripped in the area.

Spain, among the favourites for the European Championship in Holland and Belgium, had led through a penalty of their own three minutes before half time.

Gary Sundgren, who plays his club football in Spain with Real Zaragoza, pulled down Joseba Etxeberia to give midfielder Josep Guardiola the chance to fire the Spaniards ahead.

Spain dominated for long periods and could have been out of sight before Nilsson's late leveller.

Swedish keeper Magnus Hedman tipped Etxeberia's shot round a post with the score still at 0-0 and made a brilliant point-blank save to deny Gaizka Mendieta on 52 minutes.

But Sweden were almost level in bizarre circumstances nine minutes later when defender Jose Francisco Molina hit his own crossbar with a back pass.

The game also marked Henrik Larsson's comeback from injury, the striker receiving a standing ovation as he came off the substitute's bench with 25 minutes left.

Henrik Larsson
Henrik Larsson received a standing ovation
Larsson broke his left leg during Celtic's Uefa Cup tie with Lyon earlier this season but has made a dramatic recovery, culminating in an impressive training camp with the Swedes.

"It was nice to come back as I never thought I would play in the European Championship," Larsson said.

"The crowd's reaction was just fantastic when I came on. I only played 25 minutes but I felt good and I'm hungry to play."

Sweden: Hedman, Nilsson, P Andersson, Bjorklund, Sundgren (Mellberg 46), Alexandersson (Mild 71), D Andersson, Mjallby, Ljungberg, Petterson (Osmanovski 70), K Andersson (Larsson 70).

Spain: Molina (Casillas 69), Salgado, Hierro (Helguera 46), Paco, Aranzabal, Etxeberria (Mendieta 46), Guardiola, Valeron (Engonga 69), Fran (Sergi 46), Perez Munoz (Gerard 69), Urzaiz Aranda (Munitis 46).

Referee: S Treossi (Italy).

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Stats for Sweden

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See also:

28 May 00 | Sweden
Ljungberg raring to go
26 May 00 | Sweden
Sweden gamble on Larsson
19 May 00 | Sweden
Euro lifeline for Larsson
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