San Juan (Argentina):
Lionel Messi was taken to hospital after suffering an injury scare as Argentina defeated Honduras 1-0 in their only warm-up game before next month’s Copa America Centenario in the United States.
A first-half goal from in-form Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain settled a low-key encounter in San Juan last night, with two-time world champions Argentina dominating possession and shots.
But the result was overshadowed by an alarming incident involving Messi midway through the second half that forced the Barcelona superstar to leave the field clutching his lower back in pain.
The five-time FIFA World Player of the Year appeared to be hurt after a heavy aerial collision with an opposing player in the 59th minute.
Messi grimaced and rubbed his lower back after the challenge and required treatment on the field for several minutes before he was swiftly substituted by Ever Banega.
Messi was taken to hospital to assess the nature of the injury, the Argentina Football Association said in a statement.
“Messi suffered trauma to his lower back on the left side and ribcage in the same area. He is being examined in a local hospital for a more thorough diagnosis,” the statement said.
He had suffered a “nasty blow to the lower back,” Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said.