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Messi Sparks Miami Comeback, Secures Final Spot

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Messi Sparks Miami Comeback, Secures Final Spot

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Lionel Messi’s inspiration led Inter Miami to a remarkable comeback against Cincinnati, securing a 5-4 victory in a penalty shootout after an exciting US Open Cup semi-final that ended 3-3 in extra time.

Inter Miami, who had recently won the Leagues Cup by triumphing over Nashville in a penalty shootout, find themselves on the brink of a second trophy since Lionel Messi joined the team just last month. Cincinnati currently sits at the top of Major League Soccer’s standings, while Miami is positioned at the bottom.

However, Miami’s transformation has been profound ever since the arrival of Messi. Prior to Messi’s addition, Miami had struggled, failing to win any of their 11 league games. The newfound energy and momentum that Miami has experienced since the signings of Messi, along with Spanish talents Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, seemed to be facing a halt in Ohio as they faced off against an impressive Cincinnati team.

During the game, Inter found themselves trailing 2-0 with only 22 minutes left on the clock. This is when Lionel Messi took center stage. With his incredible skills, Messi delivered two perfect assists to striker Leonardo Campana, effectively bringing the score level and pushing the game into extra time.

The initial lead for Cincinnati was established with a goal from Luciano Acosta in the 18th minute, followed by an impressive strike by American forward Brandon Vazquez in the 53rd minute. But then, in the 68th minute, Messi’s skillful free-kick from the left side of the field was met by Campana’s header, injecting new life into what had seemed to be a rather tired performance by Miami up until then.


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As the game approached its end, Messi once again showcased his prowess. In the seventh minute of stoppage time, he sent a precise cross from deep on the left, finding Campana at the back post, who adeptly headed the ball into the net, securing extra time for his team.
During the extra time, Inter Miami managed to take the lead with an excellent pass from Benjamin Cremaschi to Josef Martinez, who confidently finished the chance. However, Cincinnati responded swiftly as Japanese winger Yuya Kubo found the net with a powerful right-foot shot.

The game was eventually decided through a penalty shootout. The teams were level at 4-4 in the shootout when Inter Miami’s goalkeeper, Drake Callender, made a crucial save against Cincinnati’s Nick Hagglund. This opened the door for Benjamin Cremaschi to step up and convert the decisive spot kick, securing Inter Miami’s spot in the final.

After the match-winning penalty, 18-year-old Benjamin Cremaschi, who was born in Miami to Argentine parents, was congratulated by none other than Lionel Messi himself. Cremaschi expressed his disbelief at the situation.

I’m living a huge dream… It’s incredible, I never believed I was going to be in the spot I am in now.

Inter Miami’s next challenge will be to face the victor of the semi-final match between Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, which took place on Wednesday. As they continue on their journey, Inter Miami will look to carry forward the spirit and inspiration that Lionel Messi has brought to their team.


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