Kyiv, Ukraine – Andriy Shevchenko provided Ukraine with a night to remember on Monday as the 35-year-old scored a pair of goals in the second half to lead his team to a 2-1 comeback win over Sweden in Group D play at Euro 2012.
Ukraine was taking part in its first ever match at the European Championships on Monday at the Olympic Stadium, but after falling behind to a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 52nd minute, Shevchenko stole the show.
The former AC Milan star equalized in the 55th for Ukraine before scoring seven minutes later from a corner kick to help his team move to the top of Group D after England and France played to a 1-1 draw earlier in the day.
It wasn't a guarantee that Shevchenko would even start the match after a reported feud with manager Oleh Blokhin in the build up to the competition.
But you can bet that the boss was pleased he handed Shevchenko the start as Ukraine looked lively early on.
Andriy Yarmolenko combined with Shevchenko to set up the first chance, which the striker pulled wide, while Yarmolenko himself had a good opportunity that was blocked at close range after a scramble in front of goal.
But the best chance in the first half fell to Ibrahimovic as he headed a cross from Rasmus Elm off the post.
The second half came to life in the 52nd minute as Ibrahimovic put his side in front by redirecting a low shot from Kim Kallstrom past goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.
However, Shevchenko had a quick response as he arrived at the near post to nod home Yarmolenko's cross, leveling the match.
The hosts were clearly lifted by the equalizer and the go-ahead goal followed only seven minutes later as Evgeni Konoplyanka's corner kick was driven toward the six-yard box, where Shevchenko turned a header inside the near post and just beyond defender Mikael Lustig, who strayed a bit too far off the goal line.
Sweden had chances to level the match over the final 15 minutes with Ibrahimovic sending a powerful shot straight at Pyatov from inside the area, while the best opportunity fell to substitute Johan Elmander, who missed the net from 10 yards with Pyatov at his mercy just before stoppage time.
It was a great win for the co-hosts, who face France on Friday in their second group contest, while Sweden attempts to rebound against England.