“You have to pray that he falls”
Messi saves his club and inspires the opponent
08/07/2023, 10:05 am
Since coming to the US, Lionel Messi has blossomed again. In the cup, his new club Inter Miami is on the verge of defeat, but then the Argentine world champion strikes: he scores twice – and again with a direct free kick goal.
With another brace, soccer world champion Lionel Messi has paved the way for his new US club Inter Miami to reach the quarter-finals of the North American Leagues Cup. The 36-year-old Argentinian scored twice against FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas on Sunday (local time) and scored the final score of 4: 4 after regular time with a direct free kick in the 85th minute. The opponents were impressed – if not surprised: “I don’t think there’s much to say. I think everyone can see it,” said Nico Estévez, FC Dallas coach. “It’s obvious that a free-kick for him is like a penalty for another player. You have to pray that the ball goes wide or that he falls trying to kick the ball.”
Miami won 5-3 on penalties, and in addition to Messi, the Spaniard Sergio Busquets, who had previously played with him at FC Barcelona for many years, also converted.
Messi also scored an early lead against Dallas (6th) after assisting Jordi Alba, also a former Barça companion. The Florida team was 4-2 down after 68 minutes but got back into the game with an own goal. Dallas’ Marco Farfan headed a free-kick cross from Messi into his own goal (80′). “Having players like him here will make our players better,” Estévez said of Messi. “When you have to deal with that level, you have to get better. And you can see at FC Dallas today how some of our players have increased their level.”
Messi had already converted a free kick directly in his first appearance, it was his third brace in a row. In the top eight round, Miami now meets the winner of the Charlotte FC-Houston Dynamo match.