Sunday, Aug 6, 2023, 10:34 PM – Michael Franca
A High-Octane Clash with Eight Goals
In a pulsating encounter that saw an astonishing eight goals during regulation time, Inter Miami CF triumphed over FC Dallas in a penalty shootout on Sunday night, securing a place in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals. The match was defined by Lionel Messi‘s remarkable third consecutive brace, featuring a breathtaking 85th-minute free-kick equalizer, and a swift goal by substitute Benjamin Cremaschi with his debut touch.
The starting lineup for Inter Miami featured Drake Callender guarding the goal, supported by DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller, and Jordi Alba forming the defense. Sergio Busquets, Dixon Arroyo, and Diego Gómez orchestrated the midfield, while Messi and Robert Taylor operated on the wings, flanking striker Josef Martínez. Notably, Alba and Gómez, the latest additions to the team, made their first starts after impactful debuts in the Round of 32 win against Orlando City.
Dynamic Match Unfolds
In an early burst of action, just six minutes into his first start, Alba linked up with Messi, presenting an assist that allowed the Argentine to slot a precise first-time shot inside the near post, securing an early 0-1 advantage. However, Dallas turned the tide with two goals before halftime – Facundo Quignon volleyed home from a Marco Farfan cross in the 37th minute, and Bernard Kamungo capitalized on a Jesus Ferreira assist in the 45th minute to take the lead at 2-1.
Twists and Turns Continue
The momentum shifted once again as Dallas extended their lead to 3-1 in the 63rd minute through an Alan Velasco free kick. Inter Miami responded swiftly, as Alba’s involvement continued with a crucial assist for Cremaschi, who found the net just moments after entering the field, reducing the deficit to 3-2.
Dramatic Climax and Penalty Shootout
The match’s intensity surged with own goals on either side, resulting in a tense 4-4 tie. In the 85th minute, Messi’s free-kick masterpiece from outside the right corner of the box nestled into the top right corner, securing his third consecutive brace and equalizing the game at four goals apiece. The exhilarating showdown led to a gripping penalty shootout.
All five Inter Miami takers – Messi, Busquets, Leonardo Campana, Miller, and Cremaschi – found the back of the net during the shootout, sealing a 5-4 victory. Cremaschi’s decisive penalty marked the culmination of the heroic comeback.
Coach’s Perspective and Upcoming Challenge
Head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino reflected on the team’s character and resilience: “We made mistakes…but we also showed a sample of the team’s character, and that gave us the chance.” The victory stands as a testament to the team’s growth.
Inter Miami’s journey continues as they progress to the Leagues Cup quarterfinals, scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11 at DRV PNK Stadium. The opponents will be determined following the Round of 16 match between Charlotte FC and Houston Dynamo FC on Monday night.