Alejandro Sabella was happy to see the friendly between Sweden and Argentina end with a 2-3 scoreline in favor of the Argentinians.
By the 23rd minute, Sweden were trailing 0-3 thanks to an own goal, and goals by Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. But Sweden attempted a comeback of sorts, thanks to a stunning free kick from Rasmus Elm and another goal by Jonas Olsson.
3 minutes into the start of the match, an own goal by Mikael Lustig gifted Argentina their first goal. But this lead did not last very long as Jonas Olsson netted the equalizer in the 17th minute.
Goals from Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain put the South Americans in a commanding lead, making the score 1-3 by the 23rd minute. In the 94th minute, an amazing free kick by Rasmus Elm gave the Swedes their second goal of the game, which proved a mere consolation goal.
The first attack by Argentina saw Lionel Messi passing the ball to Angel Di Maria, who then proceeded dangerously close to the box. But then he quickly passed it to Higuain, who went for a clean finish only to see the ball take a deflection off Lustig. The Swedish goalkeeper could do nothing but look at the ball go past him.
The Swedes tried their best to test the Argentine keeper in the air from a corner. Zlatan Ibrahimovic came close to scoring, but Olsson got to it first and levelled the scores in the 16th minute, much to delight of the Swedish fans.
Sergio Aguero put an end to the opposing side’s happiness by sending his side into the lead again, just two minutes after Olsson’s goal. Although, the Swedish defenders argued in vain that Aguero was offside.
In the 22nd minute, Argentina intercepted a lazy pass and charged at the Swedish goal. Some quick passes among the Argentinians set up Messi, who took a shot straight at goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. However, Muslera was not able to stop the shot effectively and just deflected it away. The deflection saw the ball land at the feet of Higuain, who netted a third for Argentina in the 23rd minute.
The second half saw Argentina take their foot off the gas, which resulted in Sweden having better possession of the ball. Argentina was put on the back foot as Sweden started to become more of a threat, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front, as the game progressed.
In the dying minutes of the game, Sweden were given a consolation, a free kick. Rasmus Elm stepped up to the plate and did not disappoint his side. A beautiful kick by Elm, beating the Argentine wall, left the keeper just out of reach of the ball. Elm’s goal came in the 94th minute.
After the match, Aguero said, “We’re happy because we played a good match and it’s always good to start the year in the best way. We scored the first one very quickly and that gave us peace to manage the ball.”
Aguero’s team-mate, Javier Mascherano said, “The worst thing was the aerial balls, but it’s logical because they have tall players and we knew that would be a problem.”Published 07 Feb 2013, 13:43 IST