inter Miami, without Lionel Messi, was beaten in the MLS and is on the brink of elimination – International Football – Sports
With the fourth consecutive absence of Lionel Messi, Inter Miami was beaten 4-1 on Wednesday at the Chicago Fire field letting a good part of their chances of qualifying for the playoffs of the North American League (MLS) slip away.
The Swiss figure Xherdan Shaqiri He scored a double in the 49th and 73rd minutes and his compatriot Maren Haile-Selassie completed the victory with goals in the 62nd and 66th minutes.
For Inter, Venezuelan Josef Martínez tied the score at 1-1 with a penalty in the 53rd minute, but young Argentinians Facundo Farías and Benjamin Cremaschi missed two very clear chances that would have put the Florida team ahead.
The stands at the Soldier Field stadium were filled with a total of 62,124 fans, a record for a Chicago Fire game, a good part of whom purchased the expensive tickets with the hope of seeing Messi play.
With this defeat, Miami falls to fourteenth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points in 31 games and needs an almost miraculous comeback to reach the last playoff berth that Montreal provisionally holds, ninth with 38 points in 32 games.
Inter has three games left to play in this regular phase, the first of them on Saturday against FC Cincinnati, for which it has hopes of recovering
How long has Messi been without playing for Inter Miami?
The Argentine star has not played since September 20 due to physical problems that his coach, Gerardo Martino, attributes to discomfort from the scar from an old injury in his right leg.
The arrival in July of Messi, undefeated in his 12 games in the pink Miami uniform, catapulted Inter to win the first title in its history in the Leagues Cup and dream of competing in the postseason, until that amazing streak was stopped due to the physical problems of the albiceleste captain.
In addition to Messi, Martino faced the crucial visit to Chicago with other significant casualties, mainly the Spanish full-back Jordi Alba and the Ecuadorian forward Leonardo Campana, both due to hamstring problems.
Without any team controlling the center of the field, the first half was very open with continuous arrivals to both areas. Chicago had the clearest chance in that period, with a shot against the post by Greek forward Georgios Koutsias in the 38th minute.
The locals took advantage of their growing dominance to open the scoring in a devastating counterattack in which the German Fabian Herbers crossed from the right, Koutsias let it pass and Shaqiri finished off from point-blank range.
Inter reacted quickly with a penalty called for handball in the area by full-back Jonathan Dean and converted by Martínez. The Venezuelan attacker himself then provided two brilliant assists to Farías and Cremaschi, who forgave the goal in clear shots against goalkeeper Chris Brady.
Chicago took advantage of the errors thanks to Haile-Selassie who, just seven minutes after coming off the bench, put the hosts ahead again with a double shot resulting from a loss of the ball by Robert Taylor.
The Swiss midfielder himself made it 3-1 with a great volley, taking advantage of another defensive failure by Miami and his compatriot Shaqiri completed the party with a spectacular shot from outside the area.
With this victory, Chicago placed itself in the playoff positions by storming into eighth place in the East with 40 points.