MIAMI, FL. – Inter Miami CF clinched a spot in the 2023 Leagues Cup semifinals tonight by defeating Charlotte FC 4-0. The win at a packed DRV PNK Stadium featured goals from joint team-leading scorers Lionel Messi and Josef Martínez, as well as a goal from winger Robert Taylor, while the team won for its fifth consecutive match and registered its second clean sheet in the tournament.“This is why we talk a lot about keeping clean sheets, it almost guarantees a chance of winning the game,” said head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino. “I’ve also talked about how easy it has been for us to find the back of the net because it’s not only Leo [Messi] that scores, it’s Robert [Taylor] and Josef [Martínez] with the penalty. Honesty, we’ve found different ways to score.” Drake Callender started in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller and Jordi Alba lined up in defense; Sergio Busquets, Dixon Arroyo, and Benjamin Cremaschi formed the midfield three; Messi and Taylor started on the wings alongside striker Martínez.
Inter Miami once again started the match immediately creating danger in attack in search of an early opener. Then, in the 10th minute of play, Arroyo was brought down inside the box and a penalty was awarded in favor of the hosts. Martínez then stepped up to transform the kick from the spot into a goal by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and slotting the ball into the bottom left corner to grant Miami an early 1-0 lead. The goal was Martínez’s second in the 2023 Leagues Cup and team-leading eighth across all competitions this season. The hosts continued to probe Charlotte’s defensive line in search of another goal, and were rewarded in the 32nd minute following a fantastic team play. Busquets played a precise long ball into space for Yedlin on the right wing, who then sent an inch-perfect low pass into the path of Taylor’s run into the box, where the Finnish winger calmly finished with a first-time, right-footed finish to extend Inter Miami’s lead before the half. The goal was the fourth for Taylor in Leagues Cup, while the assist was the first for Yedlin in the competition and fourth overall on the season. The second half featured a back and forth 45 minutes of action with both teams searching for opportunities in attack. It was Inter Miami, however, that struck again, with the team extending its lead to 3-0 in the 78th minute through a Charlotte own goal following a ball across the box by second-half substitute Diego Gómez. As the final minutes on the clock were winding down, Inter Miami’s star once again got his name on the scoreboard. In the 86th minute, Messi played a through ball for an onrushing second-half substitute Leonardo Campana, who controlled the ball inside the box and patiently analyzed his options before finding Messi in front of the goal, where the Argentine finished the play with a left-footed shot to send the ball to the back of the net. The goal was Messi’s eighth in the competition to join Martínez as the team’s joint top scorers, while the assist was the first in 2023 Leagues Cup and third overall for Campana this season. The goal also marked the fifth consecutive match with a goal for Messi, one in every match he’s played for Inter Miami. The 4-0 scoreline held throughout the final minutes for Inter Miami to clinch its spot in the Leagues Cup semifinals, claim a fifth consecutive win and secure a second clean sheet for the team in the competition. Inter Miami will now travel to face the Philadelphia Union in the Leagues Cup semifinals on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at Subaru Park, with kick off time set to be announced at a later date. Scoring Summary: MIA – Josef Martínez (PK) 12’, Robert Taylor (DeAndre Yedlin) 32’, Adilson Malanda (OG) 78’, Lionel Messi (Leonardo Campana) 86’ Misconduct Summary: MIA – Kamal Miller (Yellow Card 64’) CLT – Brecht Dejaegere (Yellow Card 62’), Ashley Westwood (Yellow Card 90’+1’) Lineups / Substitutions: Inter Miami CF – GK Drake Callender; D DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller, Jordi Alba (Noah Allen 88’); M Sergio Busquets, Dixon Arroyo (Victor Ulloa 88’), Benjamin Cremaschi (David Ruiz 71’); F Lionel Messi ©, Robert Taylor (Diego Gómez 71’); Josef Mártinez (Leonardo Campana 60’) Unused Substitutes – GK CJ dos Santos, Cole Jensen; D Chris McVey, Harvey Neville, Ryan Sailor; M Edison Azcona; F Robbie Robinson Charlotte FC – GK Kristijan Khalina; D Jaylin Lindsey, Adilson Malanda, Andrew Privett, Harrison Afful (Brandon Cambridge 83’); M Ashley Westwood ©; Ben Bender (Kerwin Vargas 65), Scott Arfield (Patrick Agyemang HT), Brandt Bronico, Kamil Józwiak (Brecht Dejaegere HT); F Karol Swiderski Unused Substitutes – GK George Marks, Pablo Sisniega; D Guzman Corujo, Jan Sobocinski, Bill Tuiloma; M Christopher Hegardt, Derrick Jones, Justin Meram Details of the Game: Date: August 11, 2023 Time: 8:30 p.m. ET Stadium: DRV PNK Stadium Attendance: 20,368 Stats: Possession: MIA – 62% CLT – 38% Shots: MIA – 9 CLT – 9 Saves: MIA – 2 CLT – 4 Corners: MIA – 3 CLT – 3 Fouls: MIA – 6 CLT – 13
Inter Miami CF contributed to this recap