Messi scored Miami's first spot kick before Paxton Pomykal missed for Dallas
Messi scored Miami's first spot kick before Paxton Pomykal missed for Dallas

Lionel Messi inspired Inter Miami to incredible Leagues Cup victory over Dallas

Lionel Messin delivered yet more magic to help Inter Miami reach the Leagues Cup quarter-finals with an incredible victory over Dallas on a scorching Sunday night.

In his first road game since moving to the United States, Messi opened the scoring after only six minutes before Dallas turned the game on its head.

Heading into the final 10 minutes, Inter Miami trailed 4-2. But on an evening where temperatures topped 100°F, Messi turned up the heat with a cross that Dallas's Marco Farfan headed into his own goal.

Then, with five minutes to play, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner sent another free-kick into the top corner to tie the game. That sent the match to penalties.

Messi scored Miami's first spot kick before Paxton Pomykal missed for Dallas, allowing the visitors to win 5-3. The match saw four lead changes, three goals off free kicks, and two own goals in one of the most exciting matches in American soccer this season.

It took just six minutes for an old connection to re-establish itself once again - when Jordi Alba, who made his first start for Miami on this night, cut the ball back for Messi to lash at to open the scoring.

That Messi goal came just two minutes after Dallas had their supposed first goal of the night called offside due to Jesus Ferreira being in an advanced position.

But Dallas kept probing for weak spots, with Facundo Quignon - an Argentine who, like Messi, also spent some of his playing days for Newell's Old Boys - taking a one-time shot past a diving Miami keeper to make the game even at 1-1.

The Hoops took a lead just on the doorstep of halftime with a great team effort starting with a buildup from a deflection in front of their own goal. 

Alan Velasco - who starred for Dallas on Sunday - found Ferreira in stride. In turn, the American striker cut back and laid the ball off for Bernard Kamungo. The Tanzanian forward danced around the Miami defense and slipped it home to take a 2-1 lead going into the break.

Coming out of the half, both teams looked to find an early goal inside of the first five minutes with close chances.

Dallas will surely feel the sting of not one, but two missed free headers from Kamungo, then Ferreira. 

Ferreira may especially be kicking himself after also being played through one-on-one against Miami keeper Drake Callender. But the striker took too long, allowing Inter's Kamal Miller to race back and pick the American's pocket with ease.

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