HomeNewsMessi takes Inter Miami to Leagues Cup final

Messi takes Inter Miami to Leagues Cup final

CHESTER, Pa. — Lionel Messi keeps scoring goals, and Inter Miami keeps winning games.

Messi ripped a shot from 30 yards past three Philadelphia defenders in the 20th minute that made fans who paid a record price for soccer tickets in the Philly area rejoice, and Inter Miami beat the Union 4-1 in a Leagues Cup semifinal on Tuesday night.

Major League Soccer is Messi’s league now.

Messi exchanged jerseys with fellow Argentinian and Union forward Julián Carranza, then skipped out on the traditional postgame interview and instead saved his message for his 483 million Instagram followers.

“We worked our way to the finals and we made it!!! We’re still on the last step,” he wrote.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner scored his ninth goal in six matches with his new team in front of a crowd that pushed 20,000 fans, with ticket prices soaring past $1,000 on the secondary market.

There were few complaints.

Certainly not from three Union season-ticket holders who ditched the home team’s garb for a night and traded it for Messi gear. Or fans that lined up for Messi jerseys — authenticity not guaranteed — and the ones hungry at a food truck for Messi fries.

And certainly not from the Union, who, of course wanted to win, but otherwise stuffed the coffers and received more worldwide attention on one night than in any game they’ve played in their history.

Fans erupted when the 36-year-old Messi was introduced and went wild again when he scored past diving goalkeeper Andre Blake. Messi ran with his arms extended and then punched his fist in the air as he leapt in celebration.

The rest was almost incidental.

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Jordi Alba and Josef Martinez also scored in the first half for Miami, and David Ruiz scored in the second. Miami will play in the Leagues Cup championship game Saturday against Nashville, which beat Mexican club Monterrey 2-0 later Tuesday night.

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