Ibra, Messi off target as Argentina beat Sweden
© AFP

Argentina defeated Sweden 3-2 in an international friendly on Wednesday on a night when superstar strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi both failed to get on the scoresheet.

Argentina were 3-1 up by the break courtesy of two strikes from Gonzalo Higuain and one from Sergio Aguero while Jonas Olsson was on target for the Swedes. Argentina were ahead after just three minutes when Real Madrid striker Higuain scored after neat approach work from Angel di Maria and skipper Messi.

West Bromwich Albion defender Olsson pulled the Swedes level after 18 minutes with a header from a corner, but that respite lasted barely a minute when Aguero was set up by di Maria to restore Argentina's lead.

In the 29th minute, Higuain made it 3-1 after a Messi free-kick was only parried by the keeper. Ibrahimovic was substituted at the interval before Messi had a goal ruled out when a sweet lob was judged not to have crossed the line.

"For me it was a goal, but that's it. It's important that the team won," said Messi.

The contest petered out with a host of replacements upsetting the pattern of the game before Rasmus Elm hit a consolation for the hosts in the fifth minute of injury time. Both sides will now set their sights on FIFA World Cup™ qualification with Sweden facing Republic of Ireland on 22 March and Argentina tackling Venezuela on the same day.