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Inter Miami CF IMI
2
Diego Gómez 36',Messi 88'
Finished

MLS

Messi scores on MLS debut as Inter Miami win in New York

The Argentine was a 60th minute substitute and bagged a late second for Inter Miami as the Herons move off the foot of the table with the win.

Update:
La marca que Inter Miami y Messi pueden alcanzar ante Nashville
HARRISON, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates with teammate after scoring a goal \2h during a match between Inter Miami CF and New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on August 26, 2023 in Harrison, New Jersey.AL BELLOAFP

Inter Miami returned to Major League Soccer action fresh from their win in the 2023 Leagues Cup and were on a roll having progressed to the US Open Cup final. As expected, head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino kept his word and rested both Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets with both players starting on the bench.

New York RB welcomed Inter Miami on their return to MLS at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey with the Herons coming into the game rooted at the foot of the Eastern Conference with just 12 games left for the side from Florida who face an uphill challenge if they are to secure a playoff place.

Fans react as Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami begins to warm-up in the second half during a match between Inter Miami CF and New York Red Bulls
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Fans react as Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami begins to warm-up in the second half during a match between Inter Miami CF and New York Red BullsBRUCE BENNETTAFP

Different lineup

After Wednesday’s Open Cup win against Cincinnati midweek, Martino did allude pre-game that he would rotate the team despite the desperate need for three points and opted to use Campana as sole striker as part of a 5-4-1 formation with Diego Gomez stepping up and bagging the opener for Miami as he latched onto a loose ball in the box slotting home with a left footed effort in the 37th minute.

Alba plays

With Messi and Busquets starting on the bench, Jordi Alba was the only member of the trio of high profile reinforcements for the Miami team to start with the former Barcelona players joining the action on the hour mark replacing Yedlin and Ochoa respectively.

Messi makes MLS debut

Lionel Messi was once the focal point of the game at Red Bull Arena and delighted the many pink clad Inter Miami fans present in the last minute when he combined well with Cremaschi to tap home from close range to open his MLS account with the Argentine now scoring 11 goals since his Inter Miami debut in the Leagues Cup against Cruz Azul last month.

Inter Miami's Argentine forward #10 Lionel Messi
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Inter Miami's Argentine forward #10 Lionel Messi KENA BETANCURAFP

The win was important on many levels with NY Red Bulls being a direct competitor in the battle for a playoff place but it also lifts the Herons off the foot of the Eastern Conference as they set their sights on climbing the table.

A busy week lies ahead for Tata Martino’s men as they welcome Nashville SC to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday before travelling to Los Angeles where they take on LAFC on Sunday night at BMO Stadium.

New York Red Bulls
Inter Miami CF

Substitutions

Peter Stroud (45', Dru Yearwood), Tom Barlow (45', Elias Manoel), Lionel Messi (59', Leonardo Campana), Sergio Busquets (59', David Ruíz), DeAndre Yedlin (59', Robert Taylor), Cory Burke (65', Frankie Amaya), Benjamin Cremaschi (71', Facundo Farías), Jorge Cabezas (75', Omir Fernandez), Wikelman Carmona (83', Cameron Harper), Robbie Robinson (83', Diego Gómez)

Goals

0-1, 36': Diego Gómez, 0-2, 88': Messi

Cards

Referee: Allen Chapman
VAR Referee: Geoff Gamble, Robert Schaap
Cameron Harper (10',Yellow) Tomás Avilés (19',Yellow) Carlos (86',Yellow)

Table
Table Pts. P W D L
9 32 25 8 8 9
10 30 26 8 6 12
11 29 25 7 8 10
12 29 24 7 8 9
13 26 26 5 11 10
Table Pts. P W D L
11 29 25 7 8 10
12 29 24 7 8 9
13 26 26 5 11 10
14 21 23 6 3 14
15 19 26 3 10 13