25.11.2014 18:52 - in: UCL S

      Malmo in Group A

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      Sweden’s first Champions League representatives in 14 years currently sit bottom of Group A after recording one win and three defeats. Juventus.com charts their journey so far

      Juventus 2-0 Malmo, 16 September 2014

      Reigning Allsvenskan champions Malmo ended Sweden’s 14-year wait for Champions League football when they ran out at Juventus Stadium for their first Group A clash against the Bianconeri in mid-September.

      Playing with five at the back and two holding midfielders, Age Hareide’s sought to frustrate the hosts and capitalise on any potential opportunities on the counter, almost taking the lead when Magnus Eriksson’s close-range volley was foiled by Gigi Buffon.

      But Carlos Tevez’s opener on 59 minutes, his first Champions League goal since 2009, lifted a weight off Bianconeri shoulders, and the striker made certain of a winning start when he smashed home a magnificent free-kick on the stroke of the full-time whistle.

      Malmo 2-0 Olympiacos, 1 October 2014                                   

      An exuberant home crowd welcomed Malmo out for their first ever Champions League game at Swedbank Stadion, with a double from local hero Markus Rosenberg rewarding their support with a night to remember.

      Chances fell the way of both sides during a first half in which goalkeepers Robin Olsen and Roberto were tested, but it was the latter’s failure to grasp Rosenberg’s initial strike that led to the deadlock being broken, the 32-year-old gleefully picking up the pieces to tap home just ahead of the interval.

      More thrills and spills followed after the break as Michel’s men cranked up the pressure in search of an equaliser, forcing Olsen into a number of crucial saves, the pick of the bunch being a miraculous stop on Giannis Maniatis when the Olympiacos man looked odds-on to score.

      However, with eight minutes left on the clock, Rosenberg sealed Malmo’s maiden Champions League win when he gathered substitute Pawel Cibicki’s assist before sending an emphatic finish into the top corner.

      Atletico 5-0 Malmo, 22 October 2014

      Taking heart from the way they kept the Bianconeri quiet for 59 minutes on matchday one, Malmo elected for a similar defensive strategy at the Vicente Calderon - and all appeared to be going to plan when both sides entered the break locked at 0-0.

      Yet an inspirational performance from Koke - who broke the deadlock three minutes into the restart before providing goals for Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin - ultimately proved to be the undoing of the Swedes, who had little answer once the mercurial midfielder shifted Atletico into top gear.

      New recruit Alessio Cerci, who joined Diego Simeone’s men from the Bianconeri’s inter-city rivals Torino in the summer, also got in on the act late on, rounding off an enjoyable night for the hosts by netting a fifth in stoppage time.

      Malmo 0-2 Atletico Madrid, 4 November 2014

      It was to be a different story, however, when Malmo welcomed Atletico to Sweden for the return affair two weeks later, with a dramatically improved performance seeing the hosts dominate large spells of the contest.

      Despite that, it was Simeone’s side who looked the most threatening in the final third, Koke again breaking the deadlock with a deft touch to turn Juanfran’s cross home after 30 minutes.

      Malmo rallied valiantly and could have got back in it through both Anton Tinnerholm’s strike, cleared off the line by Miguel Angel Moya, and Rosenberg’s cleanly-struck volley that rattled off the post.

      But Raul Garcia pounced to break Swedish hearts and secure three important points that took Atletico clear of Olympiacos and Juventus at the top of Group A on nine. 

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