Sweden in shock Arz defeat

Azerbaijan made history by securing their first-ever victory against Sweden, achieving a remarkable 3-0 win during the 2024 UEFA European Championship qualifying (UECQ) held at the Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium.

Janne Anderson’s seven-year tenure as manager is drawing to a close, given Sweden’s inability to qualify for a second consecutive major tournament, making his position untenable. Despite this, the clash against Azerbaijan presented an opportunity to conclude his final week on a positive note. Azerbaijan, who had never scored against Sweden and suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat in their previous encounter, displayed signs of improvement lately. Under Gianni De Biasi’s leadership, they narrowly lost to Group F heavyweights Belgium and Austria. If results in other groups align favorably, Azerbaijan could secure a play-off spot for Germany’s upcoming championship.

In a stunning turn of events, Azerbaijan found themselves 2-0 ahead within just six minutes. Taking advantage of a sluggish Swedish start, Renat Dadashov set up Emin Mahmudov for the opening goal, capitalizing on Victor Lindelöf’s lapse. Dadashov then turned scorer, burying Aleksey Isayev’s pass to extend the lead. Despite a close-range attempt by Victor Gyökeres cleared off the line, Sweden struggled, explaining their meager six points from six games in the qualification process.

Sweden received a lifeline after the break when Behlul Mustafazade was sent off for fouling Gyökeres just outside the box. Although a penalty was initially awarded, Shakhruddin Magomedaliyev denied Emil Forsberg’s powerful free-kick by tipping it onto the crossbar.

Even with a numerical advantage, Sweden posed minimal threat, with Robin Quaison’s header narrowly missing the target as their best chance to stage a comeback. Emin Mahmudov sealed Azerbaijan’s triumph in style, launching a spectacular strike from inside his half to lob Robin Olsen and ignite celebrations among the home crowd.

While Sweden is currently not at their peak, Azerbaijan’s monumental triumph should not be overlooked. It marks only their second win in 24 qualification games for major tournaments and their second consecutive victory in UECQ. For Sweden, this defeat is undoubtedly humiliating, considering their underperformance despite the talent within their squad.