Goals in each half from Gonzalo Higuaín and Éver Banega helped Argentina to a 2-1 win against Italy in a friendly to honour Pope Francis at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.
Higuaín, who recently joined SSC Napoli, troubled the Azzurri defence from kick-off and broke the deadlock after 20 minutes with a wonderful finish. He then made the second for Valencia CF midfielder Banega early in the second half, and though substitute Lorenzo Insigne reduced the arrears with a superb shot, it was mere consolation.
Argentina started brightly and took the lead when Higuaín controlled an Erik Lamela pass on the left, cut inside and fired in with his right foot. Italy pushed for the equaliser for the remainder of the first half but Cesare Prandelli's team lacked the necessary creativity in the last third to seriously trouble Calcio Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andújar, one of the seven Serie A-based players in Argentina's starting lineup.
Claudio Marchisio missed the best opportunity of the first half for the Azzurri, scuffing his shot from close range after a nice Antonio Candreva pass. Prandelli made three changes at half-time but it was Argentinian substitute Banega who made the quickest impact as he beat Gianluigi Buffon with the outside of his right foot from the edge of the box. A few minutes later the Italy captain was replaced by Federico Marchetti, who instantly made a superb save to keep out a close-range volley by Higuaín.
Italy replacement Alessandro Diamanti hit the bar with a sweetly struck free-kick, while Insigne had better luck with a curling effort from 20 meters which found the top corner 13 minutes from time. Only Marchetti prevented Argentina adding to their lead in the closing stages, however, denying Ángel Di María and Maxi Rodríguez.