WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 — Lionel Messi continued his prolific scoring form with a superb first-half strike as Inter Miami reached the Leagues Cup final with a 4-1 away win over Philadelphia Union. Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez gave the hosts the lead in the third minute at Subaru Park when he ran onto Sergii Kryvtsov’s pass and slotted a cool finish past goalkeeper Andre Blake, reports Xinhua.
Martinez then turned provider as he found Messi in space, allowing the Argentine World Cup winner to stream forward before rifling a low 30-yard drive into the far corner. Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba made it 3-0 on the stroke of halftime when he pounced on Robert Taylor’s through ball and dribbled into the area before finishing with a lofted shot over the lunging Blake.
Alejandro Bedoya reduced the deficit by firing home from close range after goalkeeper Drake Callender failed to deal with a corner. But Miami put the result beyond doubt through substitute David Ruiz, who combined with Deandre Yedlin before angling a close-range finish past Blake.
Inter Miami will meet either Monterrey or Nashville in the final on Saturday. Messi has now scored nine times in six matches since joining the Florida outfit on a free transfer last month.
The Leagues Cup is an annual competition featuring clubs from the United States, Canada and Mexico. (Xinhua)