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Lionel Messi leads Inter Miami CF to first-ever CONCACAF Champions Cup spot

messi taylor inter miami vs philadelphia

As Inter Miami CF stormed their way into the Leagues Cup 2023 final with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, Lionel Messi and his teammates also clinched another continental milestone.

This summer’s tournament, which involved all 47 MLS and LIGA MX teams in the starting blocks, also gave three teams the chance to secure their spot in next season’s CONCACAF Champions Cup. These places are handed to the two finalists as well as the winner of the third-place play-off, with the tournament champion even being handed a bye straight to the round of 16.

As a result, tonight’s win means that Messi has led his new team to their first-ever appearance in the continental tournament. For the beaten semi-finalists in the Philadelphia Union, Saturday’s play-off will hand them another shot at making the competition.

The Argentine maestro had scored his team’s second of the evening, after Josef Martínez broke the deadlock early on. Another former Barcelona man in Jordi Alba found the net before half time. Alejandro Bedoya’s strike would prove to only be a consolation, as the Miami native David Ruiz scored the visitors’ fourth to seal the result.

Given that the Florida outfit currently sit rock bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference and are some way off a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, a successful Leagues Cup campaign will have been their only route to the Champions Cup. Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s men will have done just that.

inter miami celebrate

Messi and company now stand just one game away from directly qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions Cup knockouts, as they look to lift the Leagues Cup 2023 trophy. The Argentine scored his ninth goal in six appearances, barely a month since he first touched down in North America. Can the number ten score his tenth in the final, and make it a dream start to life in Florida?