Messi gave Inter Miami victory in his debut 2-1 against Cruz Azul (video)

Messi gave Inter Miami victory in his debut 2-1 against Cruz Azul (video)

July 21, 2023, 10:29 PM

July 21, 2023, 10:29 PM

The wait was worth it. The premiere of Lionel Messi could not be better for Inter Miami, who beat Mexican Cruz Azul 2-1 this Friday on the opening day of the Leagues Cup, with a beautiful free-kick goal from the Argentine star in discount.

The match seemed headed for a penalty shootout. when Messi caused a free kick on the edge of the area.

The clock indicated the minute 90+4 when Rosario’s genius placed the ball carefullyraised his head and shot with effect to the right corner of the Mexican goal, unleashing madness in the DRV PNK stadium.

The Inter Miami fans were able to taste a preview of what awaits them with the seven-time Ballon d’Or among his ranks, as did a collection of celebrities who followed him from the front row, such as LeBron James or Serena Williams.

The Florida team started asleep against a Cruz Azul that did everything better at the start of the game.

In the band, the Argentine coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino gesticulated trying in vain to impose a bit of order in his rear. And the fans, who filled the nearly 20,000 seats in the Fort Lauderdale stadium (50 km from Miami), chanted the name of the player they all wanted to see: “Messi, Messi.”

The dominance of Cruz Azul became overwhelming in the first hour but failed to score any of the numerous chances, including a shot at the post by Argentine Carlos Rotondi.

In front, Inter Miami tried to take advantage of the few balls they touched. A couple of plays from their winger Robbie Robinson, the best team in the first half, were the only hope of a reaction.

This one came just before the break with a great play by Finnish winger Robert Taylor. He received from the left, threatened to overflow the opposite side, dribbled inside, accelerated and placed a shot close to the opposite post that the goalkeeper could not reach in the 44th minute.

On the way to the changing room tunnel, the Cruz Azul players were probably wondering how could they lose 1-0.

The party seemed complete with the entry of Messi in minute 54. The stadium received the Argentine idol standing up, with a roar of joy. Next to him, another of the men called to transform Inter Miami, the Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets, took to the pitch.

Cruz Azul took a step back. With Messi and Busquets in the field, the Florida team positioned itself better and stopped suffering. A rumor ran through the stands every time the ‘Flea’ received on the right wing. He tried, he associated and it seemed a matter of time before he ended up provoking a goal.

This was the game when the Mexican team remembered how to score a goal. In an apparently not very dangerous play, forward Uriel Antuna received the ball in the area, turned around and he fired a powerful shot into the net in the 65th minute.

Cruz Azul, last in the Mexican league with three defeats in as many games, He seemed determined to spoil Messi’s debut.

The best player in the world kept trying, giving hints of his enormous quality and his desire for victory. He went down to receive in the center of the field, dribbled, opened the wings, gave deep passes, stood out.

In a nice pass between the lines, Busquets left Messi alone in front of the goal, but the Mexican goalkeeper deflected the Argentine’s shot.

And then came the wonderthe free kick attached to the squad, unattainable for the Mexican goalkeeper and that it revived a team that is last of the season in the MLS and had gone 11 games without winning.

It was the best welcome for the new sports megastar from Miami, who came to welcome members of the United States sports Olympus such as LeBron James.

The current leader of the Lakers and winner of two titles in his time with the Miami Heat melted into a long hug with Messi a few minutes before kick-off.

Other sports figures also shone in the stands, like the tennis player Serena Williams, and music, like Marc Anthony, all of them received by David Beckham, co-owner of Inter, and his wife Victoria.

After Cruz Azul, also last classified in the Mexican league, Inter will face Atlanta United on Tuesday in their second and final game of the group stage of the Leagues Cup.

The two best classified from each of the 15 groups of the tournament will advance to the knockout stages of the round of 32, which will begin on August 2.

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