Messi, Suarez fire Inter Miami into CONCACAF quarters

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were on target as Inter Miami marched into the last eight of the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a 3-1 (5-3 aggregate) win over Nashville on Wednesday.

Messi set up Suarez for the eighth-minute opener and then the Argentine found the target himself in the 23rd minute.

But the eight-times Ballon d’Or winner was substituted in the 50th minute before his replacement Robert Taylor made sure of the victory with a 63rd-minute header.

Inter Miami coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino said Messi’s withdrawal, when he did not appear to limp or be in discomfort, was due to a concern about his hamstring.

“He has an overload in his right hamstring. So we didn’t want to take any risks. We tried to see if he could hold on a bit longer but it was bothering him and we preferred to take him out of the game,” he said.

“I imagine that for Saturday’s game (at D.C. United) he is not going to be available,” said Martino.

Inter Miami, playing in the competition for the first time, will face the winner of Thursday’s second-leg between Mexico’s Monterrey and MLS’s FC Cincinnati in the quarter-finals.

The Liga MX team are at home and lead 1-0 from the first-leg.

The first-leg in Tennessee had seen Nashville take a two-goal lead before goals from Messi and Suarez inspired a comeback for a 2-2 draw.

And it was the former Barcelona pair that proved to be the difference again as Miami took control from the outset.

Messi had an early opportunity when he was brought down on the edge of the box, providing him with a free-kick from a central position but his shot struck the wall.


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