Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 18, 2018-Sunday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Lionel Messi-less Argentina outclass Italy with Banega, Lanzini strikes

Lionel Messi, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, was not included and reduced to the role of spectator as Argentina dominated much of the encounter at the Etihad Stadium against Italy

football Updated: Mar 24, 2018 09:42 IST
Omnisport, Manchester
Lionel Messi,Argentina football team,Italy football team
Argentina's Ever Banega, centre, scores his side's first goal of the game during the international friendly football match against Italy at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Friday.(AP)

Ever Banega and Manuel Lanziniensured Lionel Messi’s absence was not keenly felt as they hit the targetin Argentina’s2-0 friendly win over Italy.

Messi, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, was not included andreduced to the role of spectator as Argentina dominated much of the encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

READ | Luis Suarez bags 50th goal for Uruguay goal in comfortable win over Czech Republic

Italy’s returning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who reversed his decision to retire frominternational footballfollowing the Azzurri’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, was kept busy throughout as he won his 176th cap.

Yet Luigi Di Biagio’s men, whopaid tribute to late former Fiorentina captain and Italy international Davide Astori by emerging wearing number 13 shirts bearing his name, could have taken the lead themselves if not for a glaring miss by Lorenzo Insigne.

READ | Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he’s ready to win at LA Galaxy after Manchester United release

And hisprofligacy was punished in the 75th minute as Banega played a neat one-two with Giovani Lo Celso and fired beyond a stranded Buffon.

Italy could not muster a response and Lanzini put the game beyond doubt fiveminutes from time. Di Biagio - part of a three-man shortlist to take over as permanent Italy boss - will hope for a better audition against England on Tuesday, when Argentina face Spain as they continue to build towards the World Cup.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 09:42 IST