Web Analytics

Messi’s Inter Miami and Newell’s Old Boys draw 1-1 in friendly

More articles

Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi returned to the starting lineup for the MLS club on Thursday in a 1-1 home draw with his Argentine boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys.

It was an emotional match for the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, who supported Old Boys as a youth and played for them from 1995 to 2000 before joining Barcelona.

Messi was removed in the 60th minute, replaced by 22-year-old American Lawson Sunderland, but he delighted home fans ahead of next week’s start of the 2024 MLS campaign and Inter coach Gerardo Martino for his quality performance.

“I spoke to him after the game and he was fine. We had talked about playing between 45 and 60 minutes,” the Argentine coach said.

The 36-year-old striker, who sparked Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title, returned to Miami’s starting 11 after fighting through a groin injury that caused him to sit out a friendly in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Messi came off the bench in a later Inter Miami match in Japan but was back among the starters for the MLS club’s final pre-season match and in healthy form.

After a scoreless first half, Inter Miami grabbed a 1-0 lead on Shanyder Borgelin’s goal in the 64th minute.

The 22-year-old Haitian forward leapt high over a defender to nod home a perfect corner kick from Finnish midfielder Robert Taylor.

Follow us on our Official WhatsApp channel

Newell’s equalized on Argentine midfielder Franco Martin Diaz’s goal in the 83rd minute, a blast into the bottom right corner from the heart of the box.

It was an important night for other Argentine talent on Inter, and Martino.

“For many of us who have a very strong bond with Newell’s it was a special and nice game, a friendly to enjoy,” Martino said.

Mauricio Larriera, Newell’s coach, and the Old Boys felt much the same.

“Emotions had to be managed, something very important in these cases because ultimately it’s a football match,” Larriera said.

“In the case of Lionel Messi, all the boys were happy and with that sense of Argentine belonging, it was necessary to dose and manage not only the energy but also the emotional part.”

Inter Miami will play host to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday in the MLS regular-season opener after a global pre-season tour that saw the team struggle with injuries but ultimately build confidence for the upcoming season, Messi’s first full campaign with the Florida squad.

READ: New Zealand register first-ever Test series win over South Africa

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories