Messi and Suarez can’t save Inter Miami

Messi and Suarez cannot save Inter Miami

After failing in two friendly matches against El Salvador and FC Dallas, Inter Miami flew to Saudi Arabia to begin their pre-season tour of Asia. In the first match, they met the Saudi Pro League leading team Al Hilal at Kingdom Stadium. As usual, coach Tata Martino arranged Messi to play as a striker with Suarez. Behind them are two former Barca teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

imageCompared to the previous two matches – a 0-0 draw with El Salvador and a 0-1 loss to FC Dallas, Inter Miami played better. However, against an opponent who was in shape and had a more uniform squad, the American club only held the ball 36%, launching 10 shots, including seven on target, compared to 24 shots and 17 hits. Al Hilal’s destination.

The home team soon took the lead in the 10th minute, after a rather skillful triangle combination on the left wing. From behind, Aleksandar Mitrovic ran up to catch the ball and curled it, beating goalkeeper Drake Callender. Al Hilal only needed three more minutes to double the gap, thanks to a low shot that hit the edge of the post by Saudi Arabia star Abdullah Al-Hamdan.

Inter Miami tried to rise up, despite being under a lot of pressure from home fans in the stands. In the 34th minute, starting from Messi’s dribble, Alba poked Julian Gressel to face the goalkeeper. The midfielder hesitated for a moment then passed to Suarez to shoot into an empty net. The referee ruled this situation offside because Gressel passed too slowly.


Suarez was angry with this decision. He turned to the linesman and complained. After reviewing the VAR, Ms. Edina Alves Batista, the female referee controlling the match, recognized the goal for the former Liverpool striker because she determined that the ball came from the foot of an Al Hilal player, not Gressel. This is the first goal Suarez scored for Inter Miami.

However, Al Hilal quickly restored the two-goal gap before the break. From Al-Hamdan’s hanging goal, Michael won an aerial battle with goalkeeper Callender to head into an empty net.

At the beginning of the second half, Mohammed Jahfali fouled David Ruiz in the penalty area and was detected by VAR. On the penalty spot, Messi kicked into the top right corner, fooling goalkeeper Hbib Alwotayan. This is the Argentine captain’s first goal in 2024. After scoring, he ran into the goal to pick up the ball and called on his teammates to try to equalize.Messi’s words of encouragement seem to bear fruit. Inter Miami equalized 3-3 just a minute later. Ruiz dribbled the ball from the left wing into the middle, passed an Al Hilal defender, then shot into the near corner, causing Alwotayan to give up. After scoring, the 19-year-old midfielder was congratulated by Alba and Messi.


However, two minutes before time ran out, Al Hilal scored the winning goal. The scenario was similar to their third goal when Yasser Alshahrani crossed in from the right wing and Malcom hit the ground with a header, beating Callender. Inter Miami’s defense continues to show that they are terrible at defending the ball.

In the remaining match within the framework of the Riyadh Cup, Inter Miami will meet Al Nassr on February 1, with the focus being on the confrontation between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, if the striker of the Saudi Arabian club can recover from his injury. After this match, Inter Miami will go to Hong Kong and Japan for friendlies, then return to the US to prepare for the new season.

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