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Inter Miami Advance to Final 8 of Champions Cup Following Star Performance By Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi (Via MLS/Twitter)

Inter Miami advanced to the final eight of the CONCACAF Champions Cup after defeating Nashville SC, with both Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi playing pivotal roles.

The Herons came out strong at Chase Stadium, buoyed by their home crowd. Just 13 minutes into the match, their star duo of Messi and Suarez combined to open the scoring, with Suarez finishing clinically. Only 15 minutes later, Messi added his name to the scoresheet.

After heading into the halftime break with a two-goal advantage, Messi was subbed off due to an injury just four minutes into the second half. Nonetheless, Suarez wasn’t done.

The 37-year-old provided a superb assist for Finnish winger Robert Taylor in the 64th minute, perfectly setting up a header to make it 3-0.

Nashville managed a consolation goal in stoppage time when forward Sam Surridge scored, but it was too little too late for the visitors.

Inter Miami Team (Via MLS/Twitter)

This was the first time Inter Miami fielded a starting XI featuring Messi, Suarez, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and Federico Redondo together. With all five superstars available from the start, they gained an early lead and maintained it until the end.

In a crucial win-or-go-home match, Messi put the team on his shoulders while on the field. He contributed with an assist and a goal in the first half, making a significant impact after missing Sunday’s match against CF Montreal, which ended in a 3-2 loss for Inter Miami.

Despite only playing 49 minutes, Messi’s influence was enough to give Miami a solid advantage for the remainder of the game after his departure.

There appears to be a developing rivalry between these two clubs. Whether it’s official or not, Nashville struggles to overcome Lionel Messi and his teammates.

First, there was the 2023 Leagues Cup final, where Messi and company triumphed in a penalty shootout. Then came a league match 11 days later that ended in a 0-0 draw, a game Nashville arguably should have won.

Messi, Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets at Inter Miami (Via MLS/Twitter)

Now, in the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, Nashville drew 2-2 with the Herons in the first leg but lost 3-1 in the return match on Wednesday. In four matches since Messi’s arrival in South Beach, Nashville has yet to secure a victory against Inter Miami.

The Herons face D.C. United on March 16, looking to recover from a disappointing performance against CF Montreal in MLS.

Following this, several players will leave for the international break, with USMNT goalkeeper Drake Callender being the only confirmed departure so far. However, more departures are expected to be announced this week, including Messi heading to play for Argentina.

In the Champions Cup, their next opponent is still to be determined. It will be either FC Cincinnati or CF Monterrey, who play the second leg of their tie on Thursday evening.

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