Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Philadelphia Union in the semi-finals of the Leagues Cup football tournament on August 15, 2023 | Image credit: AP
Lionel Messi scored his ninth goal in six games as Inter Miami crushed the Philadelphia Union 4-1 to reach the Leagues Cup final on Tuesday.
Philadelphia, which reached last year’s MLS Cup final and has a dominant record at home, is poised to become Miami’s biggest test since it added the Argentinian forward to the roster. theirs last month.
But the Miami visitors got off to a quick start once again as Josef Martinez was running to score in the third minute thanks to a Serhiy Kryvtsov pass.
Messi somehow failed to defend just past midfield, where he picked up Martinez’s pass and dribbled forward before hitting a shot from long range in the 20th minute, past goalkeeper Andre Blake of Union, who was slow to respond.
Jordi Alba further dismayed the League with a goal just before halftime to take a 3-0 lead as fans booed the hosts as they entered the dressing room.
Philadelphia pulled back a goal through Alejandro Bedoya in the 73rd minute but David Ruiz netted in the 84th minute for Miami, who had scored 21 in their last six games.
Miami will face CF Monterrey or Nashville SC, who played later on Tuesday, in Saturday’s League Cup final, Miami’s first final in the club’s history.
Victory also means Miami will play in their first CONCACAF Champions League next year.