Inter Miami, Nashville to Leagues Cup Final, Champions Cup
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Inter Miami, Nashville to Leagues Cup Final, Champions Cup

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MIAMI, Florida – Inter Miami and Nashville SC are through to the Final of the 2023 Leagues Cup and have each qualified for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup after their respective Leagues Cup semifinal victories on Tuesday.

Not only does Saturday’s Final represent a first for each team, but it is also a first ever Concacaf Champions Cup qualification for the two clubs.

Inter Miami were first to secure their 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup place with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Once again, at the center of it all for Inter Miami was Lionel Messi, who scored his Leagues Cup-leading ninth goal in six games to lead his team to victory.

Josef Martinez got Inter Miami on the scoreboard first with a goal in the third minute. Messi then tallied his goal with a long-range effort in the 20th minute, followed by Jordi Alba’s first Inter Miami goal on a strong finish in the waning moments of the first half.

The Union would pull a goal back in the second half through Alejandro Bedoya in the 73rd, but David Ruiz restored the four-goal advantage in the 84th, completing Inter Miami’s 4-1 win.

In the nightcap at GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville SC eliminated five-time Concacaf champions Monterrey thanks to a 2-0 victory.

A tight first half gave away to a more open second half and Nashville found the breakthrough in the 67th minute when DF Walker Zimmerman won a header at midfield, leading to a break for Hany Mukhtar, who played a pass over to Sam Surridge and the well-placed shot from Surridge rippled the back of the net for a 1-0 Nashville advantage.

Rayados went right to work on finding an equalizer, but there was no way past GK Elliot Panicco, who made a trio of superb saves to keep Monterrey scoreless.

Nashville then put the win on ice with a late second goal from Fafa Picault in the sixth minute of second half stoppage to wrap up the 2-0 victory.

In addition to Saturday’s Final, the Union will take on Monterrey in the Third-Place Match, also on Saturday.