Messi scores another as Miami progress, LAFC stunned by Monterrey - GulfToday

Messi scores another as Miami progress, LAFC stunned by Monterrey


Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday. AFP

Lionel Messi made it eight goals in five games for Inter Miami as they eased into the semi-finals of the Leagues Cup with a 4-0 win over Charlotte FC on Friday.

But Major League Soccer champions Los Angeles FC crashed out of the competition after giving up a two goal lead and losing 3-2 at home to Mexico's Monterrey.

Miami will travel north to face the Philadelphia Union for Tuesday's semi-final after they beat Mexican team Queretaro 2-1.

Monterrey, the only Mexican team left in the tournament, will be away to Nashville who crushed Minnesota 5-.

Messi slotted in Miami's fourth goal, at DRV PNK stadium, in the 86th minute of what was a relatively routine victory for Gerardo Martino's team.

Watched by Argentina national team coach Lionel Scaloni, Messi had one of his quietest games in Miami's pink jersey but was still able to find the target for his legions of fans and help secure a fifth straight win since his arrival.

Miami took the lead in the 12th minute through a Josef Martinez penalty and doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute through in-form Robert Taylor, who clipped home a low cross from DeAndre Yedlin.

Charlotte, who had been largely content to frustrate Messi and Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets in the opening 45 minutes, showed more adventure after the break and substitute Patrick Agyemang should have pulled a goal back but his close-range header bounced over the bar.

Immediately following that let-off, Miami made sure of victory with Diego Gomez playing a low cross towards Messi in the middle only for Charlotte defender Adilson Malanda's attempted interception ended up in his own goal.

Malanda's ill-fated slide had denied the home crowd their expected Messi goal celebration, but that was to arrive three minutes from the end of time.

With the North Carolina side tiring, Ecuador striker Leonardo Campana had time, inside the box, to calmly look up and slip the ball across to Messi for the simplest of conversions.

After Sunday's helter-skelter game in Dallas ended 4-4, with Miami progressing after penalties, Martino was pleased to see his team keep control of the contest.

"We kept control of the ball for longer spells and I think there was only one clear chance from the opponent. Other than that I think we didn't suffer defensively," said the former Barcelona and Argentina coach.

"It's very difficult for us not to score goals that's why we talk a lot about keeping a cleansheet because that's almost a guarantee of being able to win the game," he said.

Agence France-Presse

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