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Inter Miami claim victory over Hong Kong XI without injured Lionel Messi

Published at :February 4, 2024 at 7:49 PM
Modified at :February 4, 2024 at 7:49 PM
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Rajarshi Shukla

Lionel Messi and Luis Saurez were on the bench

In the most recent match of the MLS team’s preseason Asian trip, Inter Miami routed a Hong Kong XI 4-1 on Sunday, with Lionel Messi sitting on the bench the entire ninety minutes.

Although supporters who bought all 40,000 tickets for Hong Kong Stadium in an hour when they went on sale in December were disappointed by the Argentine’s absence, Miami played better following their 6-0 defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr in Riyadh on Thursday.

Lionel Messi participated in the final seven minutes of the defeat, but he was forced to sit out the game in Hong Kong alongside fellow Uruguayan attacker and former Barcelona colleague Luis Suarez due to a strained hamstring. Messi is an eight-time winner of the Ballon d’Or.

At least the spectators who packed the same venue a day earlier got to watch Miami co-owner David Beckham and the 2022 World Cup champion during an open training session.

Five minutes prior to halftime, Robert Taylor gave Miami the lead with a curling shot from the corner of the area. Coach Jorn Andersen of the national team immediately pulled one back for the hosts with Henri Anier.

Lawson Early in the second half, Sunderland gave Miami the lead back. Then, 56 minutes in, they set up Leonardo Campana for a goal that put the score 3-1. Five minutes from time to go, Ryan Sailor scored a fourth.

For the sole training session on Saturday, around 40,000 supporters poured upon Hong Kong Stadium, yelling “Messi! Messi! Messi!” and waving replicas of his number 10 shirt while he and club co-owner David Beckham engaged with neighbourhood kids.

When match tickets went on sale in December, Hong Kong fans lost no time in grabbing them—within an hour, demand for the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner’s first match in the territory since 2014 reached a fever pitch.

When Inter Miami continues their preseason trip against J.League champions Vissel Kobe on Wednesday, Messi can anticipate similar scenes in Tokyo.

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