Messi’s Inter Miami and Newell’s Old Boys draw 1-1 in friendly

Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi returned to the starting lineup for the MLS club on Thursday in a 1-1 home draw with his Argentine boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys.

It was an emotional match for the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, who supported Old Boys as a youth and played for them from 1995 to 2000 before joining Barcelona.

Messi was removed in the 60th minute, replaced by 22-year-old American Lawson Sunderland, but delighted home fans ahead of next week’s start of the 2024 MLS campaign.

The 36-year-old striker, who sparked Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title, returned to Miami’s starting 11 after fighting through a groin injury that caused him to sit out a friendly in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Messi came off the bench in a later Inter Miami match in Japan but was back among the starters for the MLS club’s final pre-season match.

After a scoreless first half, Inter Miami grabbed a 1-0 lead on Shanyder Borgelin’s goal in the 64th minute.

The 22-year-old Haitian forward leaped high over a defender to nod home a perfect corner kick from Finnish midfielder Robert Taylor.

Newell’s equalized on Argentine midfielder Franco Martin Diaz’s goal in the 83rd minute, a blast into the bottom right corner from the heart of the box. BSS

Inter Miami will play host to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday in the MLS regular-season opener.


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