Lionel Messi draws a blank on his Inter Miami return as they win 1-0

Leonardo Campana #8 of Inter Miami celebrates his goal with Lionel Messi #10, and Jordi Alba #18 during the second half against the D.C. United at Chase Stadium on May 18, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Lionel Messi was kept off the scoresheet for the second consecutive game but Inter Miami extended their unbeaten run with a 1-0 win over DC United on Saturday night.

Leo Campana scored four minutes into second half stoppage time as Miami avoided a second consecutive scoreless draw. 

Campana, who entered the match a minute earlier, received a pass from Sergio Busquets on the right wing and converted on a shot that landed inside the left post.

The win improved Eastern Conference-leading Miami to 9-2-4 with 31 points. DC United dropped to 4-5-5 and 17 points.

Miami have now won six and tied three since a chastening 4-0 loss at New York Red Bulls on March 23.

Messi returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's match against Florida rivals Orlando because of knee soreness.

The Argentine star forward had at least one goal and assist in five consecutive matches until a 3-2 win at Montreal May 11. Messi began Saturday with a league-leading 12 assists.

Tightly-marked for most of the match, Messi found a slight opening in the 71st minute but his shot from 22 yards sailed high above the crossbar.

Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender preserved a clean sheet when he stopped a shot from United's Jacob Murrell in the 86th minute.

The start of the match was delayed 25 minutes after thunderstorms hit Chase Stadium before the clubs' warm-ups. The rain intensified again shortly after kickoff then subsided in the 30th minute.

Messi had two free kicks blocked by a wall of United defenders in the 21st and 39th minutes.

Both clubs continue their league schedule next Saturday, when Inter Miami visits Vancouver and DC United hosts Chicago.

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