Inter Miami suffer first defeat since Messi's arrival

AFP

Inter Miami's recent resurgence came to an abrupt halt on Saturday as they faced a 5-2 defeat against Atlanta United.

This marked a significant departure from their previous unbeaten streak of 11 games, following a challenging nine-game winless period.

The match witnessed a key absence, as Lionel Messi was rested for the first time since joining Inter Miami in July.

Despite Messi's absence, Inter Miami initially took the lead with a stunning goal by Leonardo Campana in the 25th minute. Campana displayed exceptional control as he chested the ball, chipped it over a defender and volleyed it into the net.

However, Atlanta United staged a remarkable comeback, scoring three consecutive goals within just eight minutes. The first was from Tristan Muyumba, one a Miami own goal and the third by Brooks Lennon, propelling Atlanta to take a 3-1 lead by halftime.

Inter Miami managed to reduce the deficit in the 52nd minute when Campana successfully converted a penalty following a handball incident in the box. Nevertheless, their comeback was short-lived as Atlanta continued to dominate, netting two more goals courtesy of Giorgos Giakoumakis and Tyler Wolff, ultimately sealing the victory.

Despite Messi's absence, approximately 72,000 fans packed into Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium to witness the match. Many fans expressed their disappointment at not being able to see Messi play, with some revealing they had paid nearly $2,000 to attend the game.

Atlanta United coach Gonzalo Pineda acknowledged that he learned about Messi's absence through social media platform X and urged his team to shift the focus onto themselves and change the narrative surrounding the game.

Inter Miami's next match is scheduled for Wednesday when they host Toronto FC at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Meanwhile, Atlanta United is also set to play on Wednesday against D.C. United at Audi Field in Washington D.C.

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