Lionel Messi scores in latest Inter Miami win vs. Charlotte to advance to Leagues Cup semifinal

Inter Miami star Lionel Messi scored his eighth goal in five games with the club, netting a goal in the 86th minute of Miami’s 4-0 win over Charlotte FC in Friday’s Leagues Cup quarterfinal at DRV PNK Stadium. Here’s what you need to know:

  • With his latest goal, Messi is in sole lead of the Leagues Cup golden boot race.
  • Josef Martínez, Robert Taylor and Adilson Malanda also scored for Miami in the 12th, 32nd and 78th minutes, respectively, Friday.
  • Inter Miami — which sits last in the Eastern Conference in MLS — is one victory away from a CONCACAF Champions Cup place, as the top three finishers in the competition earn a bid.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Can this turnaround continue for Inter Miami?

It’s easy to believe that Inter Miami may cruise to the Leagues Cup final, then play their way into an MLS playoff position. Messi has given Miami a boost of momentum and a confidence that they have never had. Messi had a bit of a quiet night, although he was very good, and still managed to score one goal. That bodes well for Tata Martino’s side. Despite being highly dependent on Messi, Miami are learning to manage the game effectively. But there is a reality here: Inter Miami are still a team that’s rebuilding, fatigue will set in and they’ll now travel to Philadelphia for their toughest test since Messi’s arrival. A hiccup or two in 2023 is expected. — Cardenas

Highlights of the match

(Photo: Hector Vivas / Getty Images)

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