Lionel Messi scores again as Inter Miami sail into Leagues Cup semi-finals


Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates after scoring a goal in the second half during the Leagues Cup 2023 quarterfinals match between Charlotte FC and Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on August 11, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Lionel Messi continued his scoring streak as he helped Inter Miami seal a 4-0 victory over Charlotte FC in their Leagues Cup quarter-final in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Argentine slotted in Miami’s fourth goal in the 86th minute, making it eight goals in five games for his new club.

Josef Martinez and Robert Taylor scored before halftime, and Messi also helped create a second-half own goal that put the result beyond doubt.

Miami have won all five games since the Argentine superstar’s debut in the competition contested between all 47 teams in MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX.

Miami will travel north to face the Philadelphia Union for Tuesday’s semi-final after they beat Mexican team Queretaro 2-1.

Watched by Argentina national coach Lionel Scaloni, Messi had a quiet game but was still able to find the target.

“We kept control of the ball for longer spells and I think there was only one clear chance from the opponent. Other than that I think we didn’t suffer defensively,” coach Gerardo Martino said.

“It’s very difficult for us not to score goals that’s why we talk a lot about keeping a cleansheet because that’s almost a guarantee of being able to win the game,” he said.

It was the second consecutive game and third time in four outings in which Miami scored four goals, part of the massive turnaround of team that is in last place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.

“It’s beautiful to play with each other again,” said midfielder Sergio Busquets, a former Messi teammate with Barcelona.

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