Elanga nets 'dream' first goal for Sweden

Monday 06 June 2022 11:30

Manchester United forward Anthony Elanga scored a ‘dream’ first goal for Sweden on Sunday night, while club colleague Cristiano Ronaldo dedicated his 116th and 117th career international goals to his mother.

Elanga, who turned 20 in April, became the second 2000s-born player to net for his country, for whom he was making a third appearance.

The young winger came off the bench midway through the second half as Sweden trailed Scandinavian rivals Norway. After a neat one-two in added time, he curled a wonderful effort past Orjan Nyland in the visitors’ net.

It proved only a consolation strike, with two Erling Haaland efforts, one a penalty, securing victory for Norway in the UEFA Nations League match, but it was a proud moment for Elanga nevertheless.

“It's a dream,” he said. “I have always wanted to score goals for the Swedish national team. To score my first goal here at Friends Arena, with the whole family watching the match, it felt good.”

A first Sweden goal is just reward for a season of hard graft from the United Academy graduate. Elanga is no stranger to finding the net on national team duty, having scored seven in eight Under-21s games in the past. It was at that level where the young Red was playing as recently as November. His rise to the top since Christmas has been fantastic to watch.

Elanga’s Sweden will wrap up their campaign by playing Serbia at home on Thursday 9 June and then Norway again, this time away, on Sunday 12 June.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, Ronaldo extended his remarkable international record by netting a double in a dominant performance and victory over Switzerland.

The Selecao began their scoring when William Carvalho tapped home a parried Ronaldo free-kick, and the United man soon added two goals of his own, with club team-mate Bruno Fernandes involved in the build-up of both.

Sunday evening’s brace means Ronaldo has now scored 117 times for Portugal - including 100 non-penalty goals - and 815 times in his career overall.

He dedicated the strikes against Switzerland to his mother, Maria Doleres, who was watching on emotionally in the stands.

Reacting to the victory afterwards on social media, our recently crowned Player of the Year said:

“A very important victory in our journey, a lot of pride and confidence in this group, a lot of strength to give the Portuguese what we so desire: victories and convincing performances. It looks like the season is about to end, but really… this is just beginning!”

Portugal lead Group A2 of the UEFA Nations League after earning four points from their opening two matches, and will face second-placed Czech Republic on Thursday.