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International friendlies wrap: Ukraine lose again, Sweden edge Serbia

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jun 2012

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Turkey have ensured Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine will enter the tournament in poor form with a solid 2-0 win over the eastern Europeans.

Tuesday’s defeat was Ukraine’s second in a row to teams that will not compete at the European Championships, after losing 3-2 to Austria on Friday.

Caner Erkin sent Turkey into the lead in the first half when he finished off Mehmet Topal’s fine pass after some excellent wing play, while Mustafa Pektemek put the game to bed when he scored after a fine counter-attack with 20 minutes to play.

It could have been even worse for Ukraine as Hamit Altintop crashed a free-kick against the bar just two minutes after Pektemek’s goal.

The home side had the best of the opening chances but had to wait half an hour to hit the back of the net.

Topal cleverly dribbled free on the left wing in the 30th minute and worked his way into the box before placing the ball ahead of team-mate Erkin, who slid in to score.

Despite Topal dominating, it was not until the 70th minute that Turkey scored again.

After an attack from Ukraine, Turkey rebounded quickly, with substitute Tunay Torun surging down the right before squaring for Pektemek to score.

Andriy Shevchenko, who came on at half-time for Ukraine, almost scored twice in the final 15 minutes but he missed a header from close range when unmarked and then chipped the ball onto the crossbar with his second chance.

In Sweden, the hosts came out on top of a largely end-to-end game against Serbia, winning 2-1 in their final warm-up friendly ahead of Euro 2012.

Sweden went in front when Ola Toivonen tapped home from close range in the 23rd minute after Serbia goalkeeper Branimir Aleksic failed to catch Rasmus Elm’s corner.

Neven Subotic equalised for Serbia four minutes later with a powerful header from a corner, but it was Sweden who claimed the win.

Elm again created the scoring opportunity, passing to Toivonen seven minutes after the break, with the PSV Eindhoven striker timing his run perfectly to get into the area where Aleksic brought him down.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic calmly converted the spot-kick to put his side 2-1 up and the hosts held on to maintain their winning record in 2012.

In other friendly matches on Tuesday, Armenia thumped Kazakhstan 3-0, scoring all their goals in the first half, and Austria and Romania drew 0-0.

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