Lionel Messi sustains leg injury as Inter Miami enter CONCACAF Cup quarters | Football News

Lionel Messi sustains leg injury as Inter Miami enter CONCACAF Cup quarters | Football News

Messi and Suarez scored in Miami’s 3-1 win but the Argentinian was substituted after sustaining an injury that will force him out of Miami’s next MLS game.

Lionel Messi scored a goal and made an assist before leaving the field due to a leg injury as Inter Miami beat Nashville 3-1 in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup round-of-16 match.

Messi found his former Barcelona teammate, Luis Suarez, in stride for a goal that opened scoring in the eighth minute. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner then added a first-half goal to give Inter Miami an early 2-0 lead on Wednesday night.

The Argentinian great was substituted in the 50th minute and coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino later revealed that Messi was dealing with a mild leg injury that started bothering him during the game, so he was taken off as a precaution.

“He is overloaded in the right posterior,” Martino said through a translator. “We tried to see if he could go further along [in the game], but it was bothering him so we preferred to have him get out of the game.”

Messi had rested during Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Montreal, which is the only game he has missed this season.

Martino said Messi will likely miss the team’s Major League Soccer (MLS) match on Saturday against DC United.

“I don’t want to risk it,” Martino said.

Messi was replaced on Wednesday by Robert Taylor, who scored in the 63rd minute to give Inter Miami a 3-0 lead.

Inter Miami advanced to the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals with the win and 5-3 advantage in aggregate goals in the total-goals series.

‘No one can do what he can do’

Messi had an instant impact on the game.

He earned a free kick after a foul by Nashville’s Anibal Godoy just four minutes into the match but had his attempt blocked. The 36-year-old seized his opportunity a few minutes later, using his impressive vision to fit a pass to a streaking Suarez, who sent the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.

Messi then used a pass from Diego Gomez to score from inside the penalty area as fans started chanting his name. Taylor later got on the board with a header off an assist by Suarez.

“Lionel Messi himself was very, very sharp in the first 15 minutes,” Nashville coach Gary Smith said after the match. He was then asked his thoughts when he saw Messi trotting off the field early in the second half.

“Firstly, thank goodness,” Smith said jokingly. “He’s such a huge influence on the rest of the group. Yes, they have other very good players, but there is no one that can do what he can do. … Delighted to see him go off, I honestly thought that their performance dipped, and it gave us a little bit of an incentive.”

Inter Miami are currently amid a busy month that includes seven matches — four of which have come in a 10-day span. Messi is expected to join the Argentinian national team in a pair of Copa America warm-up matches on March 22 and 26.

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