Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi bagged a brace to lead Inter Miami to a 4-1 victory over New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.

The visiting Herons were looking to stay at the summit of the Eastern Conference table by winning their third straight game, while New England were aiming to win just their second game of the 2024 MLS season.

It couldn’t have been a better start for the Revs, who went ahead in the first minute after a series of disasterous events for the Miami defense. Nicolas Freire’s stray pass was intercepted in the middle of the field by Carles Gil, and the former Aston Villa midfielder played Tomas Chancalay through on goal with a simple over-the-top pass that caught the Miami defense sleeping.

Chancalay’s first touch saw him go up-and-over Callender with a clever chipped effort that sent the fans at Gillette Stadium into pure chaos, leaving the visitors stunned.

Despite the sluggish start from Miami, they managed to find their way back into the game through none other than the legendary Messi. Marcelo ‘Chelo’ Weigandt picked out an unmarked Robert Taylor in the middle of the park, and the Finland international — who was making his first appearance since April 3 due to injury — hit a first-time pass that was deflected back into his path before he played Messi through on goal, slicing the Revs defense open.

The eight time Ballon d’Or winner found the back of the net with a low-driven effort to score his eighth goal of the regular season and even things up at one apiece with just over 30 minutes played.

The 65,000-plus fans in attendance saw Miami’s No. 10 grab his second of the night just before the 70th minute to put the Herons in front and turn the game around. Sergio Busquets picked out Messi’s sneaky run — not one Revs defender decided to track his run through the backline — with a simple through ball that was similar to Miami’s first goal. Messi, of course, made no mistake in front of goal to secure the brace.

Miami wrapped up all three points with just minutes left in regulation thanks to a tap-in finish from the young Benjamin Cremaschi. Two Miami substitutes connected on the Herons’ third goal of the night, as Matias Rojas — in his first appearance as a Miami player — teed up Messi from right in front of goal, but the former Barcelona player’s shot was blocked by Henrich Ravas before Cremaschi slotted it home from just a few yards out.

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s side weren’t finished scoring, though. Cremaschi played his part once again with a clever flick-on into Messi’s path before the 36-year-old connected with Luis Suarez, who was lurking around the Revs’ penalty area. Ravas was unable to keep out the Uruguay international’s effort, who added his seventh goal of the season with a curling effort into the top corner.

With the victory, Miami retains their first-place position in the Eastern Conference table with 21 points while the Revs suffered their seventh defeat of the season as they remain at the bottom of the division with just four points.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi

Messi found the back of the net once again / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

GK: Drake Callender – 5/10 – He for some reason came barreling off his line when he had two defenders on Chancalay in the opening minute — a bizarre mistake from the experienced shot-stopper.

RB: Marcelo Weigandt – 7/10 – Tidy in possession and excellent when drifting into the midfield. Played a vital part to Miami’s equalizer with his quick pass to Taylor.

CB: Tomas Aviles – 7/10 – Didn’t put a foot wrong in defense and continues to improve with each passing game.

CB: Nicolas Freire – 6/10 – His poor pass was picked off by Carles Gil that led to Chancalay opening the score. He rebounded with a few key clearances and tackles after that, though.

LB: Franco Negri – 7/10 – Found himself in favorable positions down the left-hand side but was unable to consistently serve up inviting crossed for his teammates. Much better on the defensive side of things.

CM: Julian Gressel – 7/10 – Wasn’t his best performance in a Miami shirt but he still played his part in the victory.

CM: Sergio Busquets – 8/10 – Controlled the middle of the park with ease and grabbed an assist with his defense-splitting through ball to Messi.

CM: David Ruiz – 6/10 – A quiet night from the young midfielder who helped anchor the midfield alongside Busquets.

RW: Lionel Messi – 10/10 – Displayed brilliant movement throughout the game despite New England doing everything they could to neutralize him. Finished with ease from close range to square things up and add to his impressive campaign before adding another in the second 45. Topped it off with an assist to his best mate Suarez.

ST: Leo Campana – 6/10 – Started brightly with his strong hold-up play in and around the New England penalty area. He faded as the game wore on before making way for Suarez.

LW: Robert Taylor – 7/10 – Looked sharp for the most part with his crisp passing after returning to the lineup from injury. Grabbed an assist to supply Messi’s first goal of the night.

SUB: Luis Suarez (64′ for Campana) – 7/10 – Capped off an excellent display from Miami with a curling effort that Ravas was unable to keep out.

SUBL Benjamin Cremaschi (75′ for Gressel) – 7/10 – Opened his 2024 account with a close-range finish to seal the win for Miami.

SUB: Matias Rojas (75′ for Taylor) – 7/10 – Came on and made things happen up front by setting up Miami’s third goal of the night.

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 8/10 – His team selection was spot on as he allowed Suarez to catch his breath but also integrated Taylor and Cremaschi back into the side after their recent injuries. Miami continue to collect three points despite going behind early in recent contests, which could be something to keep an eye on as the season unfolds.

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