Messi scores 2, assists Busquets goal as Miami beats Nashville

April 20, 2024, 9:49 PM

Lionel Messi continued his red-hot start to the season, scoring twice and laying on 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 opening goal Saturday came in the 11th minute, when he finished off a goalmouth scramble after his initial effort had been saved by Nashville goalkeeper  Elliot Panicco

The effort drew Miami level after an own goal by Miami defender Franco Negri, filling in for the injured Jordi Alba, gave Nashville the lead after just two minutes.

But Miami turned things around to go in front six minutes before halftime. Messi swung in a corner from the right that his former Barcelona teammate Busquets met with a header at the near post to net his first goal for Miami.

Nashville threatened to tie the game up once again in the second half. Goalkeeper Drake Callender kept Miami ahead when making a diving save off Hany Mukhtar's 35-yard effort in the 55th minute.

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

The win moved Miami to 5-3-2 this season to stay top of the Eastern Conference. Nashville has made a struggling start to the year, at 1-4-3.

But it was not all positive for Gerardo "Tata" Martino's star-studded side, with key midfielder Diego Gómez stretchered off with an injury late in the first half. 

Miami was already without injured Argentina youth international midfielder Federico Redondo and has lost forward Facundo Farias for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Miami will next be in action when visiting New England next Saturday.