Lionel Messi nets two as Inter Miami beats Orlando City in Leagues Cup

Lionel Messi nets two as Inter Miami beats Orlando City in Leagues Cup

Lionel Messi’s impressive run with Inter Miami CF continued on Wednesday night as he netted two goals in a 3-1 victory against Orlando City SC in the Leagues Cup, propelling his team to the round of 16 in this inaugural competition.

Right from the start, Messi made a significant impact, expertly controlling Robert Taylor’s lofted ball into the box and unleashing a powerful volley past Orlando’s goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, securing an early lead and marking his fourth goal in the Leagues Cup.

Orlando City managed to equalize ten minutes later when César Araujo found the net in what turned into a fiercely contested first half, resulting in Messi receiving a yellow card and Orlando’s Kyle Smith also being cautioned by the referee just before halftime.

During this intense match, there was a confrontation between the football legend Messi and Araujo, extending beyond the whistle and into the tunnel. Messi appeared visibly agitated following the physical intensity of the first half.

In the second half, Josef Martínez drew a foul in the penalty area, and Messi decided to pass the spot-kick opportunity to his Miami teammate, allowing the former Atlanta United striker to take the honors and restore the home side’s lead.

There was a brief moment of concern for Inter Miami early in the second half when Orlando’s Mauricio Pereyra collided with Messi. However, after a few minutes of tending to his jaw, Messi continued to play.

In the 63rd minute, Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino introduced the newly acquired Jordi Alba, making his MLS debut and reuniting with former Barcelona teammates Messi and Sergio Busquets in South Beach.

Shortly after Alba’s appearance, Messi scored his fifth goal since joining Miami, executing a close-range volley to secure the victory, with Martinez providing the assist through a skillful chip back across the six-yard box.

Due to severe thunderstorms in the area, the round of 32 game, originally scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, was delayed by 90 minutes. The next round will see Miami face FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas, on Aug. 6, marking Messi’s first away match since joining the team.