Star Lionel Messi shone once more as he led Inter Miami to a 3-1 win over Orlando City in the 12th edition of the Clásico del Sol at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The magic of the Argentine star once again made the difference, ensuring his team’s victory in this American duel, valid for the round of 16 of the Leagues Cup.
Game postponed due to Storm
The meeting faced a postponement due to heavy rains, delaying the start by an hour and 35 minutes later than scheduled.
Messi Opens the Scoreboard
At the seventh minute, Messi received a great pass in the small area and scored the first goal, kicking with his left foot and very hard, giving no chance to the opposing goalkeeper. This was Messi’s fourth goal for Inter Miami.
Ten minutes later, Uruguayan César Araujo tied the game, keeping the dispute exciting.
Martínez Turns the Game
Six minutes into the second half, Venezuelan Josef Martínez converted a penalty, putting Inter Miami ahead 2-1.
Messi Closes the Score
In the 25th minute, Messi appeared again and this time he scored the third goal with his right foot after an excellent pass from Martínez inside the penalty area. This was Messi’s fifth goal for Inter Miami in just three complete games.
Since Messi’s arrival, Inter Miami have not lost, seeking a spot in the Leagues Cup grand final. Central midfielder Sergio Busquets also started alongside Messi, while Spanish ex-Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba came on as a second-half substitute.
With Messi leading the way, Inter Miami ended an 11-game winless streak in the US League and opened up the Leagues Cup with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul courtesy of a free-kick by Messi. In the next game, Inter Miami thrashed Atlanta United 4-0, with two goals and an assist from the Argentine star, who has already scored three goals in two games.
Inter Miami, also known as the pink team, was the Southern Region Group 3 champion, while Orlando City won the Southern Region Group 2. Inter’s rival Miami leads the history of the Clásico del Sol with five wins, while Inter has four wins.
The team led by Gerardo Tata Martino, currently at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference, is experiencing a moment of great enthusiasm in the Leagues Cup and will face Dallas FC in the round of 16 on Sunday, August 6, after Dallas eliminated Mazatlán in victory by 2 to 1.
Inter Miami shares the Leagues Cup side with Pachuca, the Mexican champions, with whom they could meet in the quarterfinals, if both clubs advance to that stage.
The direct elimination phase of the Leagues Cup, a tournament between teams from the MLS and the Mexican League that debuts this year, is played in a single game and features Los Angeles FC, the American champion, who, like Pachuca, did not have to play in the group stage.
How many goals did Messi score in the American derby against Orlando City?
Messi scored two goals, contributing significantly to Inter Miami’s 3-1 victory.
Which teams were crowned champions in their respective groups?
Inter Miami secured the top spot in Group 3 of the South, while Orlando emerged victorious in Group 2
Who scored the equalizer for Orlando City?
César Araujo from Uruguay netted the equalizing goal.
How did Inter Miami fare in their matches since Messi’s arrival?
Inter Miami achieved a remarkable winning streak, counting all their matches as victories.
What was the outcome of the Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul?
Inter Miami triumphed with a hard-fought 2-1 win, with Messi’s sensational free-kick goal being the highlight.
Which two teams might face off in the quarterfinals of the Leagues Cup?
Inter Miami and Pachuca could potentially meet in the quarterfinals if both teams progress.