Lionel Messi showcased his brilliance on Tuesday night at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Read more.
Inter Miami CF secured a resounding 4-0 victory over Atlanta United in the Leagues Cup match. This marked the first time Messi and his former Barcelona teammate, Sergio Busquets, started together for Miami since joining the MLS side.
The dynamic duo wasted no time making an impact on the game. In the eighth minute, Busquets delivered a perfect lofted pass over Atlanta’s defence to Messi, who initially missed his shot but quickly followed up with a rebound to give Miami an early 1-0 lead.
Messi continued to shine throughout the match, scoring his second goal in the 22nd minute during a swift counterattack assisted by Robert Taylor. Miami extended their lead to 3-0 by halftime, with Taylor finding the back of the net to the home crowd’s delight.
In the second half, Taylor completed his brace with another assist from Messi. The Argentine maestro was then substituted in the 78th minute, receiving a rousing ovation from the enthusiastic fans. Busquets also left the game six minutes earlier, making way for Victor Ulloa.
Miami’s manager, Gerardo Martino, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, acknowledging the positive step taken in the Leagues Cup. With their impressive display, Miami secured a spot in the round of 32, where they will host an opponent to be determined.
For Messi, the match held special significance as Atlanta United became the 100th club against which he scored during his illustrious career.
Busquets, who had spent 13 years playing alongside Messi at Barcelona, expressed his joy in sharing the field with his longtime friend. He praised Messi’s skills and emphasized how easy it was to play alongside such a talented player.
The reunion of Messi and Busquets in Miami has brought about a noticeable change in the team’s spirit and confidence. Miami’s right-back, DeAndre Yedlin, noted how these two football stars’ presence instils fear in their opponents and raises the team’s overall performance.
Gerardo Martino, who previously managed both Messi and Busquets during his time at Barcelona, wasn’t surprised by their seamless connection for the opening goal. He recognized their ability to create space and influence the game positively.
As for the fans leaving the stadium after Messi’s substitution, Martino acknowledged that while Messi’s star power draws many to the stadium, he hoped the fans would support the team until the end, applauding the collective effort.
Messi had already showcased his magic in the previous match against Cruz Azul with a sensational free-kick goal, securing a 2-1 victory for Miami.
The Leagues Cup is an exciting platform for both MLS and Liga MX sides. As for Messi, fans eagerly anticipate his official MLS debut at home against Charlotte on August 20. However, another former Barcelona player, Jordi Alba, who recently joined Miami, will have to wait longer for his debut as he was not included in the squad list for the game against Atlanta.
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