Lionel Messi was ecstatic after helping Inter Miami win the Leagues Cup final, the first trophy in the club’s history. The seven-time Ballon d’Or spearheaded the Herons to a tense 10-9 penalty shootout win against Nashville after the game ended 1-1 in regulation time on Saturday, August 19.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner has set the MLS aflame since joining Inter Miami on July 15. He scored nine goals in six appearances, carrying the club to the Leagues Cup final, downing the likes of Cruz Azul, Atlanta United, Orlando City, Dallas, Charlotte, and Philadelphia Union.
Lionel Messi’s presence, along with Barcelona legends Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, completely changed the environment around the MLS side. They no longer looked like a team that was at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
The 36-year-old scored his 10th goal in a row in just seven appearances in the 23rd minute of the match, via a stellar long-range effort. However, Nashville equalized in the 57th minute through Fafa Picault.
The game went to a tense penalty shootout. Lionel Messi was on target but both clubs missed one each, taking the contest to sudden death. In the end, Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender scored his penalty and saved Elliot Panicco’s to secure a 10-9 win for his team.
Messi was elated after the game and posted a victorious statement on Instagram:
“CHAMPIONS!!! Very happy to get the first title in this club’s history. Everyone’s hard work and commitment made it possible. Hopefully this is just the beginning… Let’s go.”
The Leagues Cup was Lionel Messi’s 44th major trophy win in his storied career. He is now the winningest player in football history, surpassing Dani Alves.
Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami vs Nashville: Exploring the stats from tense Leagues Cup final clash
Lionel Messi guided Inter Miami to a tense win against Nashville in the Leagues Cup final at Geodis Park. Let’s take a look at the stats to see how both teams performed on the pitch.
Tata Martino’s side dominated possession, controlling 59 percent of the ball and completing 593 passes (with an accuracy of 89 percent). In contrast, Nashville had just 41 percent possession and completed 405 passes (84 percent accuracy).
Despite having more of the ball, the Herons failed to threaten the opposition’s goal during normal time. They had just six shots, with two being on target. On the other hand, Nashville had 11 shots with six being on target, but they were unable to make the most of their chances on the night.
It was a statement win for Inter Miami against high-quality opposition, showing the progress they are making as a unit. Nashville are currently fourth in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, with 38 points, whereas the Herons are last with 18.