This Tuesday at DRV PNK Stadium, Inter Miami defeated Atlanta United by a score of 4-0. With this win, Inter Miami advances to the knockout stages of the Leagues Cup. A pair of braces from Lionel Messi and Robert Taylor was the difference in the game.
Messi made his debut on Friday in a thrilling win against Cruz Azul. On Tuesday, though, each made their first start as members of the MLS club. Again, Messi donned the captain’s armband. Additionally, the match marked a historic game for both manager Tata Martino and forward Josef Martinez. They faced their previous club.
Messi scores two first-half goals in Inter Miami Leagues Cup win
After just eight minutes, the Argentine had already scored thanks to a pass from his ex-Barcelona teammate. Busquets delivered a pass over the top for Messi to run onto in behind the defense; Messi’s first shot missed the post, but he was able to gather the rebound and score to give Inter Miami a 1-0 lead.
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Messi extended the advantage in the 22nd minute when he played a quick give-and-go with Taylor and finished at the far post. Messi’s goal was his third in two games for the Club, while Taylor’s assist gave him a league-leading five on the year.
In the 44th minute, with just seconds remaining before halftime, the Finnish winger calmly volleyed a left-footed goal to put his team up 3-0.
The Argentine even contributed with assist in second half
After the break, the Herons’ impressive play didn’t slow down. To put Inter Miami up 4-0 in its second Leagues Cup game, Messi sent Taylor behind the defense. The winger blasted a low left-footed effort across goal, off the far post, and in. An enthusiastic ovation greeted Messi’s departure from the field in the 78th minute with DeAndre Yedlin taking over the captain’s armband.
“I think [the arrival of Messi and Busquets] has given the team a lot of confidence…I feel like they carry the responsibility and the rest of the team feels more free to play. We’re also accumulating more training sessions together and getting on the same page with a few things. I started to see certain things taking shape that we asked of the team in the match against St. Louis… Today I saw a very important performance,” said Tata Martino after the game.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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