Connect with us

Nigerian League

Messi inspires Miami into another final against Cincinnati in US Open Cup

Published

on

Lionel Messi inspired Inter Miami to come back from 2-0 down to beat Cincinnati on penalties after their thrilling US Open Cup semi-final ended 3-3 after extra time in Ohio.

Miami, who won the Leagues Cup on penalties against Nashville on Saturday, are now one win away from their second trophy since Messi joined the club last month.

The US Open Cup is American soccer’s oldest and most important knockout competition, dating back more than a century to 1914 and is similar to England’s FA Cup or Spain’s Copa del Rey.

Miami will host the Houston Dynamo in the final on September 27 after the Texan side beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 after extra time.

A month ago Cincinnati, who are top of Major League Soccer’s standings while Miami are bottom, would have been clear favourites. But the Florida team is now a very different side to the one that was winless in their 11 league games before the arrival of the Argentine.

In the intense heat, with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) at kick-off, Miami’s unbeaten run since the signing of Messi and Spanish pair Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba looked to be coming to an end.

Inter trailed 2-0 with 22 minutes remaining before the Argentine delivered two perfect assists to striker Leonardo Campana to take the game into extra-time.

Messi’s compatriot Luciano Acosta had put Cincinnati ahead in the 18th minute and American striker Brandon Vazquez doubled the home side’s lead with a fine strike from the edge of the box in the 53rd minute.

In the 68th minute, Messi whipped in a free-kick from the left which was headed home by Campana to breathe some life into what had been a tired display from Gerardo Martino’s side.

Cincinnati thought that they had made it 3-1 but Yuga Kubo’s effort was ruled out for handball.

In the seventh minute of stoppage time Messi, from deep on the left, swung in a ball to Campana at the back post and again the Ecuadoran forward found the net to force extra time.

Miami went ahead in the first period with Benjamin Cremaschi sliding an excellent pass into the path of Josef Martinez and the Venezuelan made no mistake with a precise finish.

But Cincinnati bounced back in the second period with Japanese winger Kubo firing a right-foot shot into the far corner past the diving Drake Callender.

The teams were at 4-4 in the shoot-out when Callender saved Nick Hagglund’s penalty for Cincinnati and Cremaschi converted the next to book Miami’s place in the final.

The 18-year-old Miami-born Cremaschi, whose parents are Argentine, was congratulated by Messi after his match-winning spot-kick.

“I’m living a huge dream,” he told CBS Sports, “Sometimes I sit down and really think about the position that I’m in and it’s incredible, I never believed I was going to be in the spot I am in now,” he said.

There was a more sober view from Martino, whose team must now begin their 12-game attempt to climb from last in the Eastern Conference to the playoff positions.

Martino suggested he may be forced to rest some of his players, including Messi, after an intense eight-game spell.

“Both Leo and many other players are reaching an important physical limit and from today we will evaluate how we approach the next three matches,” he said.

“The fatigue is overcome with all the enthusiasm … I hope the team in the future could play better, but it’s very difficult to do that when you almost can’t rest”

Houston took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Mexican international Hector Herrera but Salt Lake levelled with a Julio Anderson goal in the 64th.

Panamanian midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla fired in a fine solo goal in extra-time before Luis Caicedo wrapped up the win at the death.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Nigerian League

NNL solicits for funds from cooperate organisation

Published

on

By

NNL solicits for funds from cooperate organisation

The Nigeria National League, NNL, has appealed to cooperate organisations for funds to assist in the effective running of the second tier league.

NNL chairman, George Aluo noted that the unavailability of funds has hindered the progress of his administration.

“I must continue to express my appreciation to Alhaji Gusau for finding me worthy to serve as NNL chairman and a board member of the NFF,” he stated.

“My appeal is that corporate organizations should come to our aid and do what GTI is doing for the NPFL.

“We’re not saying they should give us money to put in our pockets. Let them take care of referees indemnity and once this is done, the referees will not be intimidated but rather be at their best and it will now be possible for teams to be winning more on the road as is presently being witnessed in the NPFL.”

Continue Reading

Nigerian League

NPFL reschedules matchday 30 fixtures

Published

on

By

NPFL reschedules matchday 30 fixtures

The Nigeria Premier Football League, NPFL, has rearranged the matchday 30 fixtures, DAILY POST reports.

Three games were initially scheduled to take place on Saturday April 13th, 2024.

The games have now been moved to Sunday April 14th.

The matches affected are the ties involving Doma United and Remo Stars, Bendel Insurance versus Kano Pillars and the Oriental derby between Rangers and Abia Warriors.

The remaining matchday fixtures will be played on Tuesday, April 16th across all venues.

The NPFL Chief Operating Officer Davidson Owumi disclosed this in a memo sent to the affected
clubs.

Rangers currently occupy the top position in the NPFL table with 51 points from 29 games.

Continue Reading

Nigerian League

Asuquo wins Enyimba Player of the Month award for March

Published

on

By

Asuquo wins Enyimba Player of the Month award for March

Uwana Asuquo has won Enyimba’s Player of the Month award for March.

Asuquo beat midfielder Elijah Akanni to the award.

The defender won 51.7 votes, with Akanni getting 48.3 votes.

The right back helped the People’s Elephant secure two victories at home against Niger Tornadoes and Doma United, respectively.

Asuquo has featured in 22 games for Enyimba in the Nigeria Premier Football League this season.

He has two assists to his name.

Asuquo will be hoping to continue with his standout performance as Enyimba continue their title fight.

Enyimba will face Heartland in a matchday 30 fixture in Aba on Sunday.

Continue Reading

Trending