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Lionel Messi scores dazzling goal in MLS debut to beat New York Red Bulls

Lionel Messi wowed fans once again as he led Inter Miami to a resounding victory against New York Red Bulls. Messi scored a dazzling goal in the 89th minute of his Major League Soccer (MLS) debut and helped Inter Miami beat the New York Red Bulls 2-0 on Saturday night.

After his MLS debut, Messi did not speak with reporters which is a violation of the league’s media rules. The Miami spokeswoman Molly Dreska said after the match that Messi was not being made available to reporters, as reported by Associate dPress. Dan Courtemanche, MLS’s executive vice president of communications, said before the game that Messi, like all players, was required to be available to media after games. MLS had a progressive series of penalties for violations of its media access rules, Courtemanche said as reported by AP.

Coming to the match, This was Messi’s 11th goal in all competitions since joining Miami (6-14-3, 21 points) July 15 and sealed the club’s first win since May 13. 

Before Messi sealed the win, Miami had been 0-8-3 in its previous 11 MLS matches. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner entered in the 60th minute to huge cheers. 

The 36-year-old Messi did not participate in warmups and watched the first half from coach Tata Martino’s bench along with midfielder Sergio Busquets, forward Josef Martinez and US national team defender DeAndre Yedlin.

Jordi Alba acrobatically hooked the ball into the box to Messi who twisted and turned then slipped a sublime pass with the outside of his foot to Benjamin Cremaschi whose low first-time cross was tapped in by the seven-times Ballon d’Or winner. “He’s unbelievable, every day it’s something new, on and off the field. He’s an amazing person to play with and I am so blessed to play with him,” said Miami’s 19-year-old defender Noah Allen as quoted by AFP.

Meanwhile, the streets around Red Bull Arena were packed 2 1/2 hours prior to the match. The streets were filled with dozens of scalpers and people selling unlicensed Messi jerseys. A simulcast of the game was scheduled on a videoboard in Times Square. Chants of “We Want Messi!” began in the sixth minute and a loud “Mes-si!” “Mes-si!” reverberated throughout in the 35th.

(With inputs from AP, AFP)

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Updated: 27 Aug 2023, 08:57 AM IST

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