Soccer-Five-star Swedes score big win over Azerbaijan

Soccer Football - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifiers - Group F - Sweden v Azerbaijan - Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden - March 27, 2023 Sweden's Emil Forsberg scores their first goal Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Substitute Jesper Karlsson scored a brilliant late free kick and Anthony Elanga added a superb solo goal as Sweden hammered Azerbaijan 5-0 in their Group F European Championship qualifier on Monday.

After a terrible team performance against Belgium, in which Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick in their first group game, the Swedes came out with all guns blazing and Alexander Isak had a goal ruled out for offside before Emil Forsberg scored in the 38th minute.

Deployed on the left wing, Forsberg went on a driving run through the heart of the Azerbaijan defence before clipping a shot past the unsighted goalkeeper.

Sweden doubled their advantage in the 65th minute as Bahlul Mustafazada steered an Isak cross into his own net, and 14 minutes later Viktor Gyokeres made it 3-0 with a tap-in from Karlstrom's pass.

The two best goals of the game came from substitutes as Karlsson buried a perfectly-placed free kick in the 88th minute, and Elanga added the final goal a minute later with a superb run, rounding the keeper before slotting home.

The win lifts Sweden to third spot in the group on three points, with Austria, who beat Estonia 2-1, top and the Belgians second.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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