Lionel Messi’s two assists completed a spectacular comeback for Inter Miami after a tense shootout to advance to the final at the US Open Cup.
Since moving to the United States as a member of the Jorge Mas and David Beckham co-owned squad, the World Cup winner has not lost a game.
Since the Argentinian joined them in July on a two-and-a-half-year contract, the Miami team had been on an extraordinary run.
Seven straight victories, including the first League Cup triumph in team history, marked a great beginning for life with Messi in their ranks.
Messi’s team has not looked sharp before facing FC Cincinnati in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal.
After playing Nashville in the Leagues Cup final four days prior, it was a rapid turnaround.
Luciano Acosta gave Cincinnati the lead early on, and they maintained a fairly strong presence after that.
With a second goal from Brandon Vazquez in the 53rd minute, they appeared to be eliminating Miami from the cup.
Messi, as he has done repeatedly, pulled out all the stops to get his team back in the game.
In the 68th minute, Miami was awarded a free kick, and the Argentinian stepped up to shoot a beautiful pass that struck Leonardo Campana’s head and went into the goal.
Cincinnati appeared to be on their way to a huge victory, but Messi had other plans.
The former Barcelona player, who had the ball around 35 yards from goal, blasted a beautiful ball over the top and back into Campana’s head to bring Miami even.
The match entered extra time when the equalizer was scored in the 97th minute.