Inter Miami advances to the final thanks to an incredible long-range goal by Messi.

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Messi helps his teammates to regain confidence.

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On the way to the semi-finals, Messi has scored a total of 8 goals in just 5 games. Inter Miami has also shown improved performance with each round. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Charlotte FC with a resounding 4-0.

However, Philadelphia is an opponent of a different caliber. They are the reigning Eastern Conference champions from the previous MLS season. In the overall standings, Philadelphia sits just below defending champions Los Angeles due to goal difference.

In this year’s season, Philadelphia continues to perform consistently, sitting third in the Eastern Conference standings. They have twice as many points as Inter Miami in the last position. In their most recent meeting, Philadelphia topped Inter Miami 4-1.

However, this rematch is a different story as Inter Miami now features Messi along with Busquets and Jordi Alba.

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The atmosphere of the match is extremely intense. Tickets sold out in less than 10 minutes after being made available online. As Messi and his teammates enter the pitch, they are met with a fierce barrage of boos and shouts from the nearly 20,000 spectators at Subaru Park Stadium.

However, just 3 minutes later, the cacophony of booing subsides due to a magical moment from Josef Martinez. The Venezuelan striker had apparently endured a lackluster season, scoring just 6 goals in 20 games in the first half of the year. But in the League Cup, he benefited from two penalties awarded by Messi, and converted both into goals.

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Martínez shoots the first goal with a shot – Photo: REUTERS

Once he found his “hot streak,” Martinez’s confidence increased and he began to regain his predatory instincts. Receiving a long pass from Krivtsov on the home side of the pitch, Martinez controlled the ball and fired a precise, angled shot, putting Inter Miami ahead in the 3rd minute.

Once he hit his “hot streak,” Martinez’s mentality relaxed and he began to regain his instinctual sharpness. Receiving a long pass from Krivtsov on the home field, Martinez broke free to receive the ball and fired a decisive, accurate shot from a tight angle, putting Inter Miami ahead in the 3rd minute.

First time reaching the final.

In the 20th minute, Martínez became the architect of an unexpected Messi masterpiece. In the midst of a dispute for the ball on the pitch, Martínez managed to direct the ball to Messi’s feet despite being fouled. At the time, even he probably couldn’t anticipate that his superstar teammate could score a goal from such remarkable distance.

With virtually no teammates in front of Messi and three opposing defenders to deal with, the Argentine captain decided to fire an accurate shot from a distance of around 30 metres. Messi has executed countless wonders throughout his career, but he rarely hits shots that far in a live-ball situation.

Messi’s shot was as precise as a laser, sending the ball into the far corner of the opponent’s net. Goalie Andre Blake, despite his best efforts, couldn’t prevent it even with a full stretch shot. Inter Miami doubled their lead.

After this goal, things became easier for Inter Miami. He adopted a defensive counterattack strategy and scored a third goal through Jordi Alba in the 45+3 minute.

In the 73rd minute, Bedoya narrowed the score for Philadelphia. However, the local team’s hopes of a comeback were extinguished by David Ochoa’s goal in minute 84′. Ultimately, Inter Miami won 4-1 to secure their place in the 2023 League Cup final.

This is the first time that Inter Miami has reached the final of a tournament. The team, owned by former soccer star David Beckham, was established just 5 years ago. They have never been among the top contenders in a competition before, nor have they advanced very far in cup competitions.

But Messi has changed everything!

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