- Lionel Messi made his debut for Inter Miami and scored a last-second winner with a curling free-kick.
- Inter Miami defeated Mexican side Cruz Azul 2-1 in their Leagues Cup opener.
- Messi’s goal came from a free-kick just beyond the penalty area, securing victory for his new team.
Miami brought Messi off the bench due to his limited training with the team. The match at Fort Lauderdale saw the Mexican visitors outplaying Miami at times.
Messi’s Winning Goal
- Messi earned a foul about seven yards beyond the penalty area.
- He delivered an excellent, left-footed free-kick that beat the defensive wall and goalkeeper Andres Gudino to the top left corner.
- His precise free-kick secured the victory for Inter Miami.
After the match, Messi said, “I knew it was the last chance. I just tried like always do and fortunately, the goalkeeper couldn’t get the ball.”
Impact on the Team
Messi acknowledged the importance of getting wins for the team, especially since they were not in a good position in the league. The victory would boost the team’s morale in the tournament.
Robert Taylor also scored for Miami just before halftime, giving the team an excellent start in the three-team group that includes Atlanta United.
- Cruz Azul led in shots with 18-12 overall and eight to six in efforts on target.
- Drake Callendar made seven saves for Miami to help them secure the victory.
Coach’s Praise for Messi
Inter Miami coach Tata Martino referred to Messi as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) and praised his extraordinary ability to score such long-distance free-kicks.
Presence of Celebrities
Messi’s debut match attracted famous figures like LeBron James, Serena Williams, Gloria, and Emilio Estefan, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and Kim Kardashian.
Lionel Messi’s debut for Inter Miami was nothing short of spectacular, as he scored a remarkable winning goal with a curling free-kick. The victory against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup opener showcased Messi’s exceptional talent and marked a promising start to his football journey in America.