New York, Aug 15 (ANI): Argentina has defeated Italy in a friendly match in honour of Pope Francis despite being unable to rely on their injured star Lionel Messi.
According to New York Daily News, the match, which ended 2-1 in favor of the South Americans, was missing four-time Balon d'Or winner Messi as he suffered a thigh injury during his pre-season Asia tour with Barcelona and was unable to play in the game.
The report further said that the two teams held the match in honor of Pope Francis, the first non-European Pope in history as he hails from Argentina, adding that both squads, including Messi and Mario Balotelli, met the Pope before the game to present him with gifts.
Among other gifts, the report said that Pope was presented with an honorary membership to San Lorenzo, the Argentine soccer club team of which he is a passionate fan.
The report also said that the game saw goals from Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain, who was the best player on the field during the match against Italy, and Ever Banega, while Italy discounted with a goal from Lorenzo Insigne at the 75-minute mark.
The last time that these two titans had clashed was 12 years ago in 2001, in which the result was the same with Argentina winning 2-1 over the Italian side, the report added. (ANI)