In his third outing for Inter Miami since his move from Paris Saint-Germain, soccer superstar Lionel Messi, left spectators spellbound with a brace, leading his team to a comfortable 3-1 triumph over Orlando City in the Leagues Cup.
In a match that unfolded at DRV PNK Stadium, Messi drew first blood, displaying his incomparable skills. He neatly slotted home a beautiful volley, following a well-placed chip from his partner in crime, Robert Taylor. Orlando, not being the ones to back down, retaliated with a goal ten minutes later via César Araújo.
Inter Miami, with Messi at the helm, sought to reclaim their lead. Twice they got within touching distance, once when Messi’s shot ricocheted off the post, and again when Pedro Gallese denied his free-kick with an impressive save. Their perseverance paid off in the second half when Josef Martínez successfully converted a penalty to put them back in the lead.
In the 72nd minute, the magical partnership of Messi, Taylor, and Martínez, struck again. Messi volleyed home his second goal of the night, confirming Inter Miami’s dominance in the match. An attempt from Araújo to steal the show in the dying minutes of the match was quashed when his goal was disallowed due to an offside.
The Argentinian icon, who has been netting goals prolifically since his stateside move, extended his goal tally to five from three matches, despite still acclimatizing to his new team. Messi’s performance was not without its share of drama. He was shown a yellow card in the first half, and narrowly avoided another one later in the match for a tackle on Araújo.
Post-match, Inter Miami coach Tata Martino showered praises on Messi, stating, “With him, even the toughest challenges seem easier. We’re speaking of a player who consistently scores 40 goals a season at the highest level of competition.”
The match had its fair share of tension and delays, courtesy of thunderstorms and a collision involving Messi and Orlando’s Mauricio Pereyra, which left the Argentine star down for a couple of minutes. However, Messi, unperturbed, stood tall to lead his team to victory.
Inter Miami’s winning streak, propelled by Messi’s indomitable spirit and skill, now sets them up for a Leagues Cup round of 16 clash with FC Dallas. Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba also made his Inter Miami debut in this thrilling match.
“Despite adjectives, we might use to describe Messi’s performances; it all boils down to the fact that we’re talking about the world’s best player,” Martino added.
Despite the weather conditions that caused delays to the kick-off, Messi and his teammates maintained their focus and commitment. His recent performances are testament to his will to compete and win, giving Inter Miami and their fans hope for more such scintillating displays in the Leagues Cup.