Lionel Messi can’t hide reaction to Inter Miami conceding goal in front of him

Lionel Messi can't hide reaction to Inter Miami conceding goal in front of him

Lionel Messi sat in the stands again as Inter Miami lost the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter-final to Mexican club Monterrey.

Messi, 36, has not played for Miami since suffering a right hamstring issue midway through the round of 16 second leg against MLS rivals Nashville. The World Cup winner had returned to training the day before Tuesday’s tie but did not make the matchday squad.

Despite being without their captain, Inter Miami took the lead inside 20 minutes as Messi’s teenage compatriot Tomas Aviles tapped from close range following a corner. But midway through the second half, midfielder David Ruiz received two yellow cards in the space of five minutes to leave Miami holding on with ten men.

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After dominating much of the match, Monterrey soon made the most of its advantage. Messi’s former international teammate, Maximiliano Meza, equalized within four minutes of the sending-off.

Sat in plush seats at the recently renamed Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Miami’s captain slumped back into his chair after seeing a familiar face strike against his side. But it went from bad to worse for the hosts and Messi.

The goalscorer turned provider in the 89th minute, setting up another Argentine, Jorge Rodriguez, for a strike from distance to complete the comeback. Unlike its European equivalent, the away goals rule counts in the Champions Cup, leaving Miami with plenty of work to do in northern Mexico next week.

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Lionel Messi slumped into his seat during a game

Messi slumped into his seat after seeing Miami lose its lead

The team will hope to have their talisman back in time to try and turn the tie around, but next up is a league game this weekend against the Colorado Rapids. Martino, however, made no promises that Messi would play a part in either fixture.

“He’s game to game,” the Miami coach said in his post-game press conference. “This wasn’t the game. He wasn’t ready. “This is how we’ll approach the match against Colorado and the second leg against Monterrey.

“Every day, he feels better, but today felt like too high a risk.” Martino added: “Today, given the situation and the rival we had in front of us, knowing Monterrey had a full squad while we had important absences, I liked the way we competed.”

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Fans can follow all the action from the states on Apple TV+ with the MLS Season Pass. You can catch Lionel Messi’s debut season in the competiton, including Cup matches, as well as getting exclusive access to live games, highlight shows and interviews.

As well as being without Messi, Miami is also missing Benjamin Cremaschi, with the American teenager only just returning to training after sports hernia surgery, Federico Redondo, who returned from international duty with an LCL injury in his left knee, and Sergiy Kryvtsov, another absentee through a hamstring issue.

But Messi remains the biggest miss for the club across both league and cup competitions thus far this season. Even opposition coach Fernando Ortiz, another Argentine involved in the game, addressed the absence of his countryman.

“I admire Leo, sportingly,” he said in his press conference following the match. “I keep watching and keep admiring. I want to play against him, but I want my team to win.”

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Get the Inter Miami home and away shirt here

Lionel Messi has made an instant impact in the MLS since his move to Inter Miami. Helping the club to cup glory and firing them up the table, Messi is once again the most talked about player in the game and now you can get the stylish Adidas made Inter Miami home and away shirt.


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