Lionel Messi Scores Brace as Inter Miami Top MLS Eastern Conference

Lionel Messi Scores Brace as Inter Miami Top MLS Eastern Conference

Isaac Darko
April 21, 2024 at 1:53 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Inter Miami CF logo
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
United States
  • Lionel Messi scored a brace in his side's 3-1 win over Nashville on Saturday
  • Lionel Messi has been impressive since he joined Inter Miami in 2023
  • The Argentine star has scored 20 goals in 23 games since his arrival

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Lionel Messi netted two goals and assisted Sergio Busquets as Inter Miami secured a 3-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday, keeping their lead in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference.

Miami faced an early setback when defender Franco Negri inadvertently deflected Daniel Lovitz's corner into his own net just two minutes into the game at Chase Stadium.

Gerardo Martino's side has now gone eleven games without a clean sheet, and their luck nearly turned worse when Josh Bauer struck the bar with a powerful shot just three minutes later.

Lionel Messi scored twice as Inter Miami beat Nashville 3-1 in Major League Soccer on Saturday.
Lionel Messi scored twice as Inter Miami beat Nashville 3-1 in Major League Soccer on Saturday. Photo by Megan Briggs.
Source: AFP

But Messi soon had Miami on level terms -- the Argentine set free by a clever flick from Diego Gomez saw a shot parried out by Nashville keeper Elliot Panicco, but after Luis Suarez directed the loose ball back to him Messi slotted home to make it 1-1 in the 11th minute.

Two minutes later, Messi took advantage of some sloppy play from Nashville but his low right-foot shot came out off the post.

Everything Miami was creating was coming through Messi, who flashed a snapshot wide before moments later whipping in a cross for a Gomez header which was saved by Panicco's feet.

Six minutes before the interval, Messi's former Barcelona team-mate Busquets found the net for the first time in MLS, meeting the World Cup winner's corner with a fine glancing header at the near post.

But there was a blow for the home side just before the break when Paraguay international Gomez was stretchered off, the latest in a series of injuries for Miami.

His replacement, Brazilian born youngster Leonardo Afonso, had the ball in the net but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Nashville came out strongly after the break but despite dominating possession for the opening 20 minutes of the half, they had little to show for their efforts other than a couple of off-target long-range efforts from German Hany Mukhtar.

Nine minutes from the end, Miami were able to put the game to bed when Afonso was ruled to have been brought down inside the box by Bauer and Messi slotted home the penalty.

The goal was Messi's ninth goal in as many games in all competitions this season for Miami.

Bolt reignites GOAT debate

Earlier, Sports Brief reported on sprint legend Usain Bolt delving into the unending debate on who the greatest footballer of all time is.

Debate has always been divided on who the football GOAT is, with the discussion pitting Messi and Al Nassr superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The duo has dominated the football scene for years.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)