Messi, Inter Miami stage comeback vs. FC Dallas, advance to Leagues Cup QFs

Lionel Messi scored twice in Inter Miami's win over FC Dallas on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. File Photo by Larry Marano/UPI
1 of 5 | Lionel Messi scored twice in Inter Miami's win over FC Dallas on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. File Photo by Larry Marano/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Lionel Messi and Inter Miami trailed by two goals with about 20 minutes left in regulation before launching an epic comeback to beat FC Dallas and advance to the Leagues Cup quarterfinals.

Messi scored twice in the Round of 16 match, which was tied 4-4 in regulation and went to penalties Sunday in Frisco, Texas.


Midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi clinched the win by making his penalty kick, giving Inter Miami a 5-3 edge in the shootout at Toyota Stadium.

The Herons, who remain the last-place team in MLS, haven't lost (4-0) since Messi joined the team last month. He scored seven goals during that stretch.

"We put them in a really difficult position," Toros manager Nico Estevez told reporters. "To be honest, I think we should have won this game."


Messi started the scoring in the sixth minute. Sergio Busquets slipped a pass to fellow Herons midfielder Diego Gomez at the start of that play. Gomez then turned and fired a pass near the top of the box, finding forward Robert Taylor. Taylor immediately found left back Jordi Alba with a pass to his left.

Alba used his first touch to find Messi at the top of the box. Messi used his left boot to crush a shot just inside the left post.

The Toros equalized about 30 minutes later. Left back Marco Farfan chased a pass to the end line near the left corner to spark that goal. He then crossed the ball into the box, finding midfielder Facundo Quignon. Quignon finished the play with a shot into the right side of the net.

Jesus Ferreira assisted fellow Toros forward Bernard Kamungo for another goal less than eight minutes later. Ferreira raced ahead on a breakaway during that sequence. He then dribbled before waiting on Kamungo to reach the box. Ferreira slipped a pass to the forward, who cut his dribble around two defenders before sending a shot around Herons goalie Drake Callender for a 2-1 edge.


The Toros went ahead 3-2 on an Alan Velasco score in the 63rd minute. The midfielder used his right boot to finish that shot, which came off a deflected free kick.

Cremaschi cut the deficit to one less than three minutes later. Messi helped to create that chance by dribbling above the box. He then found Alba as he ran into toward the end line.

Alba used his left boot to send a shot back in front of the left post. Cremaschi ran into the area and smashed a shot into the center of the net in the 65th minute.

Taylor scored an own goal in the 68th minute, which appeared to doom the Herons. The forward slid in an attempt to keep a pass away from the the Toros, but accidentally sent the ball past Callender.

But Farfan scored an own goal against the Herons in the 80th minute, getting the deficit back to one goal. The midfielder headed a free kick from Messi just inside the right post, beating Toros goalie Maarten Paes for that 80th-minute goal.

The Herons equalized less than five minutes later. Messi stepped up to a free kick placement nearly 30 yards away from the goal. He ran up and booted the attempt into the upper right corner of the net, tying the score 4-4.


Messi then started the penalty session by netting the Herons opening attempt. Paul Arriola answered for the Toros. Busquets followed with another successful Herons shot. Paxton Pomykal then launched the Toros' next attempt over the crossbar.

Leonardo Campana and Kamal Miller made the Herons' next two attempts. Ferreira and Quignon also converted for the Toros. Cremaschi then fired the final shot of the session into the right side of the net.

Inter Miami will meet Charlotte FC or the Houston Dynamo in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals Friday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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