Andriy Shevchenko rolled back the years to score twice as co-hosts Ukraine came from behind to beat Sweden 2-1 in their opening game of the European Championships, in Kiev.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put Sweden in front early in the second half, before a quick-fire double from the veteran frontman saw Ukraine get off to the perfect start.

There had been plenty of doubt beforehand as to whether experienced Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin would even start with the 35-year-old in attack. And it was a decision that was beginning to look questionable early on.

The former Milan star played a clever give and go with Andriy Yarmolenko, but clear through on goal down the right of the box, he could only drag a poor effort wide of the far post.

Yarmolenko, perhaps the biggest threat in the first period, came close to breaking the deadlock himself in the 38th minute. After Shevchenko's shot was blocked, the Ukrainian captain managed to put a header across goal that was cleared by a Swedish defensive head only as far as Yarmolenko. Looking certain to score, the 22-year-old unleashed a vicious left-foot shot that was blocked by an incredible diving challenge by Andreas Granqvist.

While Ukraine controlled possession for much of the opening half, Sweden came desperately close to going in at the break 1-0 in front. From Rasmus Elm's left-wing cross, Ibrahomovic arrived at the back post and looked to have done everything right as he beat Andriy Pyatov with a firm header back across goal, but instead of rustling the back of the net the ball struck the outside of the post.

After a less than inspiring beginning, the game had exploded into life in the final 10 minutes and that open nature continued after the restart.

First, Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg was prevented from opening the scoring by the game's second sensational lunge of the match, this time from Yevgen Selin.

And then then the floodgates opened.

Sebastian Larsson put in a deep cross from the right that Yarmolenko failed to adequately clear. At the back post, Kim Kallstrom picked up the ball and played a firm ball back across goal to find Ibrahimovic, who connected with a clever instinctual finish to divert the ball past Pyatov at the near post.

The lead did not last long, though, as the other legendary striker on show made amends for his earlier miss. Yarmolenko curled a teasing ball in toward goal from the right wing and Shevchenko flew toward the ball, beating Olof Mellberg with sheer eagerness, to power a header past Isaksson from six yards out.

And to the joy of the fervent home support in the Olimpiyskiy stadium, Ukraine took the lead just seven minutes later. Shevchenko was once again the hero as he met a near post corner with a deft header to turn the ball into the net. The goal will have left Sweden coach Erik Hamren fuming,both at Ibrahimovic for letting Shevchenko run off him and at right-back Mikael Lustig for abandoning his station on the near post.

As Sweden looked to continue the rampant scoring, a clever interchange between Elm and Ibrahimovic created a shooting opportunity for the big forward on the edge of the box that he took with relish, thumping a ferocious right-foot shot that would surely have been a certain goal had it been anywhere but straight at Pyatov.

Ibrahimovic was again to the fore as Sweden created a golden opportunity to grab a point in the last minute of normal time. A quick-footed exchange on the edge of the box, saw Ibrahomovic play in Johan Elmander with a gorgeous flick over the top, but the substitute volleyed over the top from 12 yards out.

As Sweden poured forward in the closing minutes, Ukrainian hearts would have been in their mouths once more as their side came desperately close to conceding an equalizer in injury time. Defender, Olof Mellberg found himself in advanced territory in the opposition area to meet a far post cross with a volley that agonizingly landed on the roof of the net.

That was to be the last action of an enthralling 45 minutes; the final whistle met with raucous celebrations from Ukrainian players and coaching staff as five years of anticipation finally exploded into ecstasy.


Ukraine vs Sweden 0-1 Ibrahimovic Goal Euro 2012... by kofiswag


Ukraine vs Sweden 1-1 Shevchenko Goal Euro 2012... by kofiswag


Ukraine vs Sweden 2-1 Shevchenko Goal Euro 2012... by kofiswag