Lionel Messi And Luiz Suarez Fire Inter Miami Into CONCACAF Quarters

Mar14,2024



Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were on target as Inter Miami reached the last eight of the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a 3-1 (5-3 aggregate) win over Nashville on Wednesday. Messi set up Suarez for the opener in the eighth minute and then the Argentine scored an own goal in the 23rd minute. But the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner was substituted in the 50th minute, before his substitute Robert Taylor sealed the win with a header in the 63rd. Miami, playing in the competition for the first time, will face the winner of Thursday's second leg between Mexico's Monterrey and MLS's FC Cincinnati in the quarterfinals. The Liga MX team is at home and leads 1-0 from the first leg.

Nashville took a two-goal lead in the first leg in Tennessee, but goals from Messi and Suárez inspired a comeback to draw 2–2.

And it was the former Barcelona duo who again proved to be the difference as Miami took control from the start.

Messi had an early chance when he was brought down on the edge of the box, giving him a free-kick from a central position but his shot hit the wall.

But a few minutes later, Messi scored the opener, splitting the Nashville defense with a precise pass to Suárez, whose superb finish, with the outside of his right foot, was matched by the accuracy of the assist.

While Barcelona's experienced quartet of players in the Miami team, including Spaniards Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, have attracted attention, young midfield workhouse Diego Gomez has become increasingly influential.

It was Paraguay's attacking run that led to the second goal, in the 23rd minute, when Gomez aggressively entered the box and then cleverly passed to Messi, who headed the ball first-time into the corner.

Nashville had little scoring but they alerted Miami keeper Drake Callender when Daniel Lovitz fired a left-footed volley against the post.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino replaced Taylor with Messi five minutes after halftime, even though the Argentine had no signs of injury.

Nashville were boosted by the departure of the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner and they began to attack with real intent and Callender had to make a good save at point blank range to deny Lucas McNaughton.

But any sign of a Nashville comeback ended when Suárez provided a lovely chip into the box for Taylor, who scored with a header to make it 3–0.

Nashville's Hani Mukhtar had an effort ruled out for offside before English striker Sam Surridge scored a late consolation.

Earlier, Costa Rica's Herediano secured a place in the last eight after a 1-1 draw with Suriname's Robinhood, which gave them a 3-1 aggregate win.

Wednesday's subsequent game is an all-Mexican clash with Club America defending a 3-0 lead from the first leg at Chivas Guadalajara's home ground.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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