Messi scores again as Miami reach Leagues Cup final


Josef Martínez #17 of Inter Miami CF celebrates his goal with Lionel Messi #10 and Jordi Alba #18 in the first half during the Leagues Cup 2023 semifinals match between Inter Miami CF and Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park on August 15, 2023 in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Lionel Messi shrugged off an injury scare to score his ninth goal in six games as Inter Miami beat Philadelphia Union to reach the Leagues Cup final.

The Argentine World Cup winner scored Miami’s second goal in a 4-1 victory, a day after rolling his ankle in training.

Josef Martinez, Jordi Alba and David Ruiz scored for Miami, with Alejandro Bedoya on target for the hosts.

Miami will now play Nashville SC in Saturday’s final (Sunday, 02:00 BST).

The result also means Miami qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup regional tournament next season, which may open up a route into Fifa’s expanded Club World Cup in 2025.

“Our goal was to qualify for international competition next season and we’ve done that,” said Miami boss Gerardo Martino.

“Now we have to prepare to win this tournament, which has us feeling very motivated and confident.”

Miami’s sixth consecutive win since Messi’s introduction to their team in July gives the 36-year-old the opportunity to prepare for the 42nd final of his career in the World Cup-style knockout tournament containing teams from Mexico and Major League Soccer in the US.

Nashville will host the match after booking their place in the showpiece affair with a 2-0 win over Monterrey.

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