Messi, Suarez goals earn Inter Miami late draw in Nashville
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Messi, Suarez goals earn Inter Miami late draw in Nashville

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MIAMI, Florida – Lionel Messi’s first ever Concacaf Champions Cup goal and a stoppage time header from Luis Suarez earned Inter Miami a dramatic 2-2 draw at Nashville SC in the first leg of their 2024 Champions Cup Round of 16 series on Thursday night at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

2022 FIFA World Cup winner Messi added to his incredible legacy with his first Champions Cup goal, coming in the second half, but it was Nashville SC’s Jacob Shaffelburg who stole the show for much of the night with two electric strikes.

However, decorated Uruguayan striker Suarez also notched his first ever Champions Cup goal with a header in the final minutes to hand Inter Miami a slight edge in the series.

Nashville could not have asked for a better start, as they took an early 1-0 lead in the 4’ when Shaffelburg received a pass from Shaq Moore and hammered a left-footed shot into net.

Inter Miami went to work on finding the equalizer and Argentina superstar Messi nearly found it in the 13’ with a curling left-footed that just missed wide.

Messi then had another chance later in the half, but saw his right-footed effort blocked by Nashville SC GK Joe Willis.

But Shaffelburg would not be denied and just over a minute after the re-start, the Canadian scored his second of the night with a right-footed rocket from the edge of the area to double the lead to 2-0.

Right when Inter Miami looked to be on the ropes, Messi rode to the rescue, taking a pass from Luis Suarez and serving up a perfectly placed left-footed shot that brought the visitors back to 2-1 in the 52’.

The two sides traded punches in the final half-hour, and right when it looked like things would end in a Nashville victory, former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Suarez hooked up, with Busquets serving up a perfect cross for Suarez to head into net for a 2-2 final.