Inter Miami CF 3-1 Nashville SC (April 20, 2024) Match Analysis

Lionel Messi continued his hot start to the season, scoring twice and providing an assist for Sergio Busquets as Inter Miami came from behind to beat Nashville SC 3-1 at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday.

Messi now has nine goals and eight assists in nine games in all competitions so far this season. He is also the first player since 2016 to record a goal contribution in each of his first six MLS games to start a season.

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The Argentine forward’s first goal Saturday came in the 11th minute, when he broke up a goal-scoring scramble after his initial effort was stopped by Nashville goalkeeper Elliot Panicco.

The effort brought Miami back into level territory after an own goal by Miami defender Franco Negri, replacing the injured Jordi Alba, gave Nashville the lead after just two minutes.

But Miami turned things around to take the lead six minutes before halftime. Messi launched a corner from the right that his former Barcelona teammate, Busquets, met with a header at the near post to score his first goal for Miami.

Lionel Messi now has seven goals in six MLS games this season.

Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Nashville threatened to tie the game again in the second half. Goalkeeper Drake Callender kept Miami in the lead by making a diving save on Hany Mukhtar’s 35-yard effort in the 55th minute.

Messi then sealed back-to-back wins for Miami in the 81st minute. This time it came from the penalty spot, sending backup goalkeeper Joe Willis the wrong way after Nashville defender Josh Bauer was penalized for a foul on substitute Leonardo Afonso.

The win improved Miami to 5-3-2 on the season to stay atop the Eastern Conference. Nashville had a rough start to the year, going 1-4-3.

But it was not all positive for Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s side, with key midfielder Diego G√≥mez stretchered off injured late in the first half.

Miami was already without injured young Argentine international midfielder Federico Redondo and lost striker Facundo Farias for the season with an ACL injury.

Miami will next be in action when it visits New England next Saturday.

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