Argentina 1 Honduras 0: Higuain scores stunner as Messi hobbles off


Gonzalo Higuain continued his goalscoring form to inspire Argentina to a 1-0 win over Honduras, but the Copa America Centenario warm-up fixture was overshadowed by an injury to captain Lionel Messi.

After breaking a 66-year-old Serie A record with 36 league goals for Napoli in 2015-16, in-form striker Higuain was at it again in the first half as Argentina completed their preparations for next week's Copa America in the United States with a sixth consecutive match without defeat.

Higuain made it seven goals in four games for club and country with a sublime chip just past the half-hour mark in San Juan on Friday.

However, Argentina were left sweating on the fitness of Messi ahead of their opening Copa America fixture against defending champions Chile on June 6 after the Barcelona star suffered an apparent back or kidney injury.

Messi copped a knock to the lower-back area after the hour-mark and received treatment on the ground before he was withdrawn minutes later as he hobbled back to the bench in pain.

In Argentina's first game since March's World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia and the only warm-up fixture before the Copa America gets underway next week, the South American giants dusted off the cobwebs to control proceedings and they were rarely troubled by Honduras.

With Messi pulling the strings from the outset, Argentina had Honduras on the back foot and were a constant threat in attack.

Argentina almost took a 27th-minute lead via Nicolas Otamendi but the Manchester City centre-back's volley from Angel di Maria's corner flashed just wide of the post.

The Argentinians, though, eventually took the lead they deserved thanks to a moment of brilliance from Higuain.

Higuain turned his opponent inside-out with a nutmeg through the defender's legs before scoring with a sublime chip over onrushing Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober.

It should have been 2-0 for Argentina at half-time but Marcos Rojo - unmarked at the back post - saw his shot somehow saved on the line, six minutes shy of the break.

After Messi was withdrawn just past the hour-mark as a precaution, Argentina had a golden opportunity to double their lead.

However, Escober was up to the task again, denying second-half substitute Sergio Aguero from close range in the 69th minute before team-mate Gabriel Mercado hit the post.

Ever Benga - fresh from helping Sevilla to a third consecutive Europa League crown  - tried his luck from distance and almost put the result beyond doubt with eight minutes remaining but Escober made a fingertip save.