• July 24, 2024

Lionel Messi gets two assists as Miami beats Cincinnati and reaches US Open Cup final vs Houston

Lionel Messi had two assists and converted a penalty kick as Inter Miami rallied from a two-goal deficit and beat MLS-leading FC Cincinnati 5-4 on penalties in a US Open Cup semi-final.

Cincinnati jumped to a 2-0 lead before Messi set up a pair of goals by Leonardo Campana, tying the game at 2-2.

Miami moved ahead when Josef Martinez scored three minutes into the first extra period, but Cincinnati tied the game at 3-3 when Yuya Kubo scored in the 114th minute, forcing penalty kicks on Wednesday night.

 

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Messi made Miami’s first attempt in the shootout, and both teams were perfect through four rounds. Herons goalkeeper Drake Callender saved Nick Hagglund’s kick in the fifth round, and Benjamin Cremaschi converted his penalty kick to send Miami to another tournament final.

 

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Messi was held scoreless for the first time since joining Inter Miami in late July. His first assist of the game was on a free-kick in the 68th minute to cut Miami’s deficit to 2-1. He delivered a long cross into the box to set up Campana’s second goal on a header that sent the game to overtime.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who led Argentina to the World Cup crown last year, had scored 10 goals in his first seven games with Miami, leading the team to the Leagues Cup title.

Luciano Acosta and Brandon Vazquez scored the first two goals for Cincinnati.

Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead early in the first half on a nifty flick from Acosta, their Argentine No. 10 and captain.

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