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Belgium's Nainggolan floors Sweden with late strike

Belgium's Nainggolan floors Sweden with late strike

India Blooms News Service | 23 Jun 2016, 02:00 pm
Nice, June 23 (IBNS) Radja Nainggolan's deflected strike six minutes from time earned Belgium a place in the knockout stage of UEFA EURO 2016, in the process ensuring Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimović's stellar international career ended on a losing note.

A breathless encounter was heading for stalemate when the holding midfielder walked on to Eden Hazard's cutback from the byline and unleashed a right-footed drive that whizzed past Andreas Isaksson with the aid of a deflection off Erkan Zengin.

The goal also rubber-stamped the elimination of a Sweden side for whom Marcus Berg had corrected the unwanted statistic of not having had a shot on target all tournament – a fifth-minute volley that was beaten out by Thibaut Courtois.

The teams continued to trade blows as the contest ebbed and flowed, the pace belying the stuffiness of a warm night on the French Riviera. The roaming Kevin De Bruyne proved a handful for Erik Hamrén's men, who redoubled their efforts after the restart as the tempo remained high.

breakthrough, however, and were eventually undone by Nainggolan's strike from outside the box, shortly after Romelu Lukaku and substitute Dries Mertens had been denied by Isaksson. IbrahimoviÄ went close with a late volley, but the dream farewell goal was not to be.

The challenge for Sweden now is to regroup, with a new coach and captain, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Man of the match: Eden Hazard (Belgium)

Credit: UEFA.com

Belgium's Nainggolan floors Sweden with late strike

India Blooms News Service
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