Lionel Messi brace. It's just what he does.
Inter Miami CF's superstar signing pulled off the spectacular in Tuesday night's 4-0 victory at DRV PNK Stadium, scoring twice inside 22 minutes of their Leagues Cup showdown with Atlanta United to book a knockout-round spot.
- 8th minute: Messi opened the scoring on a breakaway set up by Sergio Busquets, first hitting the post before easily slotting home the rebound. 1-0 Inter Miami.
- 22nd minute: After driving the attack forward from midfield, Messi was picked out by Robert Taylor for a one-timed finish from eight yards out. 2-0 Inter Miami.
The first-half brace arrived in Messi's first-ever Inter Miami start, providing quite the follow-up act to his debut in last Friday's 2-1 win over Liga MX side Cruz Azul. That's when the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner scored a 94th-minute walk-off free kick, delivering a Hollywood ending to his first-ever match in MLS.
Messi's sequel didn't stop there. He also twice played provider on Taylor's brace that occurred in the 44th and 53rd minutes, showing the playmaking skills we've come to expect.
It was an incredible evening for Miami's new captain, who was substituted off in the 79th minute for Robbie Robinson. He received a standing ovation and was credited with 2g/1a.
The Herons, having clinched first place in group South 3, will meet the South 2 winner on a to-be-determined date in the Round of 32 (Aug. 2-4).