Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UEFA u21: Sweden & Italy in the semi-finals

UEFA u21: Sweden & Italy in the semi-finals.
UEFA u21 Championship, Sweden 2009

Sweden 3-1 Serbia, Malmo, 19,820
Italy 2-1 Belarus, Helsingborg, 3,014

Sweden and Italy advanced to the semi-finals tonight leaving Belarus and Serbia to pack their bags.

The hosts downed Serbia 3-1 in front of almost 20,000 fans in Malmo, the championship's biggest crowd yet, with tournament top gunner Marcus Berg scoring twice in the first quarter of an hour to lift his goal tally to five. Serbian skipper Gojko Kacar pulled one back after 26 minutes before Ola Toivonen scored Sweden's third just short of the half hour. A fiery evening saw the referee brandish ten yellow cards and send off two Serbs, Nikola Petkovic and Nenad Tomovic.

In Helsingborg, Italy and Belarus fought a ding-dong battle for the last semi-final spot, with the Azzurrini triumphing 2-1 in the end. Sergei Kislyak fired Belarus into a 45th minute lead only for Robert Acquafresca to equalise for the Italians from the spot in added-on time.

Both sides had chances to score before Acquafresca gave Italy the lead in the 75th minute with his second goal of the evening, a lead PierLuigi Casiraghi's team held until the final whistle.

Sweden play England in Gothenburg on Friday for a place in the final, while Italy tackle Germany in Helsingborg.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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