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Messi magic lifts Inter Miami to Leagues Cup title


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Messi magic lifts Inter Miami to Leagues Cup title

GREATEST. Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) reacts after scoring a goal against Nashville SC during he first half for the Leagues Cup Championship match at GEODIS Park. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Lionel Messi scores 10th Leagues Cup goal as Inter Miami downs Nashville SC in lengthy penalty shootout, 10-9, on the way to the title

Lionel Messi scored his 10th goal of the Leagues Cup as Inter Miami won the tournament in an 11-round penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw against host Nashville SC on Saturday night (Sunday, August 20, Manila time).

Goalkeeper Drake Callender converted Miami’s 11th and final penalty kick, then saved counterpart Elliot Panicco’s attempt to secure a 10-9 victory in the tiebreak and Miami’s first major trophy.

Callender had five saves during the 90 minutes of regulation to help the Herons finish on top of the Leagues Cup, a tournament contested between all 47 teams in MLS and Liga MX.

Messi, the reigning World Cup Golden Ball winner and longtime star with FC Barcelona and the Argentine national team, scored in all seven matches of the tournament after making his Miami debut in the competition’s opening game.

Saturday’s match marked the first time that Messi was the only Miami player to score. It was also the first instance in which his team was held to one goal since his arrival, but it still wasn’t enough to hand Messi his first defeat at the hands of an MLS opponent.

Fafa Picault leveled the match after the break for Nashville SC, who were also seeking their first major trophy.

Nashville had better opportunities than Miami in the opening 20 minutes, but Messi put the visitors ahead in 23rd the first time he got the ball with any space to take a shot.

Robert Taylor’s deflected pass fell straight to Messi, who cut to his left to avoid the challenge of Walker Zimmerman. Then with a handful of other defenders surrounding, Messi bent a brilliant left-footed strike into the top left corner of the net from 20 yards out.

Nashville SC leveled the match 12 minutes after the break following a corner kick. Hany Mukhtar curled in the service, and Sam Surridge flicked a header from the near post toward the back post.

That’s where Picault met it with a low header that caromed off the back of Callender before crossing the line. –

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