Messi sits as Monterrey beats Miami in 1st leg



Lionel Messi looked on from the sidelines as Inter Miami CF lost 2-1 to Monterrey in the first leg of the teams’ Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Messi has been dealing with a right hamstring issue for nearly a month, and though he trained with the rest of the squad on Tuesday, Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino told media ahead of the match that he wouldn’t risk further injury to his star player.

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Messi’s former Barcelona teammates Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba started for Miami against a Monterrey side that is second in the Liga MX Clausura. It beat MLS side FC Cincinnati 3-1 on aggregate to reach the quarters.

Tomás Avilés opened the scoring for the home side in the first half from a corner kick, but Monterrey struck back through Maximiliano Meza minutes after Miami’s David Ruiz was sent off in the 65th minute with his second yellow card of the night.

With Miami trying to hold on for the draw down a man, Jorge Rodriguez scored from outside the box as Monterrey turned up the pressure to give his team the win and another away goal ahead of the second leg on April 10 in Mexico, in which Miami will be desperate for its star player to be available.

Messi last played on March 13, making a 50-minute appearance for Miami against Nashville SC in the second leg of the Champions Cup round of 16. Despite the early substitution, the Miami star contributed to the 3-1 victory with a goal and an assist.

Overall, he has recorded five goals and two assists in five matches across all competitions for Miami this season.

Messi also missed both of Argentina’s friendlies in the last international window due to the injury.

The MLS side bypassed the initial round of the Champions Cup by winning the inaugural edition of Leagues Cup in 2023, before beating Nashville in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The next match for Messi and Miami is an MLS home game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. It is unknown at this time whether he will be available for that game.

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