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Lionel Messi helps Inter Miami reach US Open Cup final

Inter Miami showcased their fighting spirit by mounting an incredible comeback from a 2-0 deficit to secure a spot in the US Open Cup final.

This remarkable achievement marks their second final appearance since the arrival of Lionel Messi to the MLS side just last month.

The Argentinian forward, despite failing to find the net in the game, played a pivotal role with two crucial assists in a nail-biting US Open Cup semi-final clash against FC Cincinnati, ultimately ending in a 3-3 draw after extra time.

Messi’s presence has undoubtedly been a game-changer for Inter Miami.

At 36 years of age, the seasoned forward has not only injected his unparalleled footballing brilliance into the team but has also become a catalyst for the club’s newfound success.

Having already clinched victory in the Leagues Cup against Nashville on penalties, the victory in the US Open Cup semi-final further solidified Messi’s impact and his seamless integration into the team’s dynamic.

The semi-final against FC Cincinnati was a rollercoaster of emotions. Trailing 2-0 with just 22 minutes left on the clock, it appeared as though Inter Miami’s hopes of reaching the final were dwindling.

However, Messi’s creative brilliance came to the fore as he delivered two exquisite crosses that were met with headers from Ecuadorian striker Leonardo Campana, levelling the scoreline in dramatic fashion, including an equalizer deep into stoppage time.

The turning point of the match arrived during extra time when Josef Martinez capitalized on a Benjamin Cremaschi pass to give Gerardo Martino’s Miami side the lead.

The intensity remained high as FC Cincinnati’s Yuya Kubo equalized on the 114th minute, setting the stage for a tense penalty shootout.

The shootout witnessed a hero’s performance from Miami’s goalkeeper, Drake Callender, who saved Nick Hagglund’s crucial penalty.

The shootout reached a nail-biting crescendo with the score level at 4-4.

It was then that 18-year-old Miami-born Benjamin Cremaschi stepped up and confidently converted the decisive spot-kick, sealing Miami’s victory and their place in the US Open Cup final.

In the final, they will play against Houston Dynamo on September 27th.