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Watch: Messi sparkles again with stunning free kick as Inter Miami beat Dallas | Football News

Inter Miami’s rollicking start to life in the Lionel Messi era continued on Sunday with an 8-goal thriller against FC Dallas in the Leagues Cup quarterfinal which went all the way to penalties. Both teams scored 4 goals each, before Miami pulled through in the penalty shootout with two prevented goals.

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates after making his penalty kick attempt (Getty Images)
Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates after making his penalty kick attempt (Getty Images)

Messi himself added another two goals, taking his tally to 7 goals in 4 matches, an incredible return upon his arrival in the United States. This included another trademark free kick flying into the net to equalise the game at 4-all in the 85th minute. The Argentine continues to produce magic for his teams, and so far his journey with Inter Miami has been no less than a fairytale.

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The Toyota Stadium in Texas saw a fast start as Messi took a first-time shot from outside the box that flew into the bottom corner and made it 1-0 inside 6 minutes. He was teed up by Jordi Alba from the left flank, a kind of goal that Barcelona fans have become accustomed to.

However, the rest of the half would be dominated by Dallas. Messi’s countryman Facundo Quignon drew the match level and Bernard Kamungo made it 2-1 before halftime for the hosts. Kamungo’s goal was brilliantly taken, as he weaved through the Miami box with the ball at his feet, even dribbling past the goalkeeper before squeezing a shot in from a tight angle.

Dallas looked set to rain on Miami’s party when Alan Velasco gave them a 2-goal lead with only half an hour to play. Velasco became the third Argentine to score on the night, as his wide free-kick evaded everybody in the box and crept in past the keeper.

The next five minutes saw the teams trade goals in a remarkable run of play. Teenaged American Benjamin Cremaschi came off the bench and scored immediately, turning in Jordi Alba’s second assist of the day for 3-2. Minutes later, disaster would strike for Miami, as Robert Taylor slid in to try and intercept a cross but only managed to score an own goal.

An own goal by Dallas brought Miami back into the match, as Messi’s free-kick into the box was knocked into his own net by Marco Farfan. The own goal set up a thrilling close to the night, having already seen 7 back-and-forth goals, and Miami standing to be eliminated from the Leagues Cup.

When magic was required from Messi, the Argentine delivered. Having already scored a match-winning free-kick for Miami on his debut, the anticipation would have been incredible as he stepped up to take the free-kick. As he has so many times before, his shot was taken to near perfection, his second goal of the night incredibly making it 4-4 after a tremendous match of knockout football.

The most dramatic period of the night was still to come with the penalty shootout. Messi opened proceedings before Dallas matched him. Sergio Busquets scored his penalty, but Paxton Pomykal sent his effort over the bar, giving the visitors the advantage. The next four penalties would all go in without a hitch, giving Cremaschi the chance to score and seal a spot in the quarterfinals. The 18-year-old American held his nerve in a tense situation, sliding it in and sending the Miami bench into raptures.

It was another memorable night for the team from Miami, led from the front again by their talisman as he pulled the strings and contributed important goals. Silverware will be on their minds now, as they prepare to face the winner of Charlotte FC and Houston Dynamos in the next round.

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