World Cup quarterfinalist Sweden was on its way to three points in the Nations League, but a late brace from Emre Akbaba gave Turkey a 3-2 win in their group opener.

By Avi Creditor
September 10, 2018

World Cup quarterfinalist Sweden was well on its way to three points in the Nations League, but it wasn't anticipating Emre Akbaba's late brace.

The Turkish substitute scored in the 88th and 92nd minutes, giving his side a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Sweden and an impressive response after a tournament-opening loss to Russia last week.

Sweden appeared in command, after Isaac Thelin and Viktor Claesson's goals on either side of halftime. 

Hakan Calhanoglu got the comeback started two minutes after Claesson's 49th-minute strike with a wicked low drive, setting the stage for Akbaba's late heroics.

Turkey pulls even with Russia on points atop Group 2 in League B, although the 2018 World Cup hosts have only played the one game. For Sweden, it's looking up from the bottom at the start of the four-match group slate, which continues next month.

Elsewhere in Nations League play on Monday:

Portugal edges Italy

Italy found it tough sledding again in the competition, with a younger, experimental side under Roberto Mancini falling in Lisbon to a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal side. The Azzurri needed a late penalty just to salvage a point against Poland in their League A Group 3 opener last week, and it had no such luck Monday, falling to the sword of Andre Silva's 48th-minute goal in a 1-0 defeat.

Portugal sits atop the group with the three points from its lone match, while Italy only has a single point to show for its two games and is an early threat to face relegation to League B.

Kosovo earns first win in official competition

Kosovo made history with its first competitive victory since becoming a recognized UEFA nation over two years ago. Arber Zeneli, Atdhe Nuhiu scored in a five-minute span, accounting for the tallies in a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands. After a group-opening draw vs. Azerbaijan, Kosovo leads Group A in League D after two matches.

For Monday's results in full:

The final set of opening Nations League matches concludes on Tuesday. In League A, Iceland hosts Belgium, while Spain hosts Croatia in the headlining matches of the day. In League B, Bosnia-Herzegovina hosts Austria. In League C, Hungary plays Greece, while Finland plays Estonia. Down in League D, San Marino hosts Luxembourg, and Moldova plays host to Belarus.

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