Lionel Messi seems to be riding high on confidence on the American soil as he scored a brilliant goal once again, in the semifinals of Leagues Cup, against Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park. With a shot at the finals of the coveted tournament at stake, Lionel Messi and his brigade put up one of their best performances this season, thus prepping up for a final glory, on Saturday. Apart from Messi, several others were on target at his best mate Martinez , former Barca friend Jordi Alba and David Ruiz, all scored to ease past their opponents.
Messi fires Miami in the finals of Leagues Cup
Lionel Messi has seemed to got back his fine mojo which he lacked a bit in the French giants PSG camp. as he fired his ninth goal of the season in a mere six games. The “Little boy from Rosario, Santa Fe”, as dubbed by legendary commentator Peter Drury after his World Cup heroics, has scored in each of his first six games for the Herons, thus proving instrumental in their success in each fixture. David Beckham led side is thus slowly achieving the status of “Invincibles” as they have proved their mettle in every game since Messi’s arrival.
With a final spot beckoning, Miami’s former Argentine and FC Barcelona boss Gerardo “Tata” Martino had fielded his best possible eleven, with all three of his former Barca apprentices in the setup. Going with his trademark 4-3-3 formation of Messi leading on the right flank, being accompanied with his best mate Josef Martinez on the center and Finnish striker Rob Taylor on the left. Youngster Benjamin Cremaschi started the game who flanked Busquets, both being supported by Dixon Arroyo. In the defensive line-up, Jordi Alba was on the left, accompanied by three of Miami’s seasoned starters Miller, Kryvtsov and Yedlin.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, went with a proper counter defensive mindset, mostly focusing with their midfield setup, which comprised a 3-6-1 formation, with US forward Chris Donovan the sole goal-poacher.
Josef Martinez gets things underway
There has been a smell of a brewing friendship between Lionel Messi and his best mate in Miami, Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez. Since the day Messi arrived, there has been a sweet camaraderie between the both which grabbed the headlines, and gradually their bonhomie has reflected in their games they have played together. In two of the previous games, when Miami was handed penalties, it was Messi who stepped up to give Martinez a shot to score and increase his tally.
Today, Martinez has proved his mettle once again, when he opened the scoring for Miami, on the 3rd minute of the game, thus giving the Herons a comfortable lead within the first few seconds. Owing to a horrendous mistake from Philadelphia, when stopper Kryvtsov passed a speculative ball towards Martinez, the Venezuelan striker beat Philly keeper Blake with his shot, thus setting things up for a classy game in the minutes to come.
Messi scores a banger
Lionel Messi, the Argentine World Cup winner, who has been the talk of criticism when he donned the PSG colors, has regained his magical mojo back on the American soil. In the six fixtures he has featured in, he has scored in all of them, thus garnering widespread appraisal and above all, his American dream is thriving fantastically. A legend of the game, he has proved achieved every accolade possible in his life and will always be the “Greatest of All Time”.
For the Miami shirt, he has been on top form since the day he joined. He started his Herons career with a typical Messi-esque free-kick on the dying minutes of the game, and has not looked back since then. Currently, his tally stands on 9 goals in six outings, and is already glittering on the list of Miami’s top scorers. He seemed to have made a habit of scoring in every game and today was not an exception either.
On the 20th minute of the semifinal fixture, Messi made his mind of scoring something out of the world, as he banged a long range screamer, thus giving the side a comfortable 2-0 cushion. The Messi-Martinez tactics came to play once again as the Venezuelan striker found out Messi and the legend did the rest of slotting past Blake comfortably, from at least 30 yards, leaving him in awe of his shot.
Jordi Alba scores his debut goal
After Messi had decided to etch his name in the record books, it was time for his best friend from Barcelona, Jordi Alba, to find the back of the net. When the game had entered the stoppage time of the first half, and everyone went under the thought that probably Messi and co. could have gone easy on their opponents, but it was a Rob Taylor and Jordi Alba duo who did not let Philly defenders rest easily. The Finnish-Spanish combo conspired to score the goal, when Taylor fed Alba with a vertical ball, and the former Barca full-back scored a screamer from a tight angle, thus featuring on the Miami scoresheet for the first time.
With not much left in the game for Philadelphia to restore, it was all but over for them. They managed to get one back when captain Bedoya found the Miami net, restoring some pride for the hosts, in his first appearance since May. But, Messi and Co. decided to inflict some more pain on Philly as they scored their 4th goal of the night, after youngster David Ruiz scored from a tight angle, leaving Blake nodding his head to wonder how they have conceded four goals in five shots in total. The 19-year old was assisted by Yedlin, and on the 84th minute, he etched his name in the history books, thus rounding of an easy victory for the Herons.
Miami to play in the final
With a miraculous performance in all the previous games, Miami rightly deserved the chance of playing in the final of the Leagues Cup. With Messi’s blitzkrieg form coupled with the increased tenacity from other stars, it has made achievable for Beckham owned side to reach the finals. With this record, they have also qualified for next year’s CONCACAF Champions Cup, thus making it look easy for the Herons, as they reach the final for the first time. It will be inevitable to say that Messi and brigade will leave no stone unturned in achieving the club’s first silverware.