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Strong Messi pulls the strings: Inter Miami get off to a promising start

Lionel Messi lived up to high expectations at the start of the new MLS season – only one goal eluded him in Inter Miami’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake

One side had clearly missed out on the play-offs the previous year, while the other had already been knocked out in the first round. Nevertheless, the clash between Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake was the only logical opening game of the new MLS season, in which once again – and even more so – everything revolves around one man: Lionel Messi.

And the 36-year-old showed on Thursday night (CET) that he still has no problem meeting the high expectations. The fact that Inter had endured a grueling pre-season with seven test matches in five different countries and that Messi was sidelined at times with a lot of noise was certainly not noticeable in the 2-0 home win against Real Salt Lake.

Messi sets up both goals

Messi, who scored 11 times in 14 competitive games last season and led Inter to victory in the League Cup, pulled the strings in front of 21,137 spectators and was involved in almost all of the hosts’ attacks. Although he was denied a goal of his own – a free-kick towards the corner of the goal was headed away by defender Glad on the line (17′) – the world champion had a decisive hand in both goals.

For 1:0, he played a quick-thinking pass through to Taylor, who beat goalkeeper MacMath with a bit of luck (39′). Before making it 2-0, he accelerated quickly in midfield before passing to his old pal Luis Suarez, who immediately crossed to 20-year-old Paraguayan Gomez in the penalty area – and he made the difference (83′).

Martino’s greeting to the skeptics

After a dominant first half, Inter, who also included new signing Julian Gressel in the starting eleven, were lucky not to concede the equalizer several times between the two goals. However, coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was more than satisfied with the start. “If anyone was sceptical about what this team is capable of, then the first half showed everyone,” said Messi’s compatriot, but at the same time warned against too much euphoria: “It was just one game. “

At least: Inter showed the first signs of being more competitive this year. A place in the play-offs would be the next level for the hype surrounding Messi – and for all those who earn money from it.



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