Monterrey end CCC run for Lionel Messi, Inter Miami


Laurens: Inter Miami well beaten by Monterrey

Julien Laurens says there was "two different levels" between teams as Monterrey beat Inter Miami 3-1 despite Lionel Messi starting.

Lionel Messi's first trip to Mexico for an official match did not end well.

Brandon Vazquez, German Berterame and Jesus Gallardo scored goals and Monterrey beat Inter Miami 3-1 on Wednesday night in the second leg of the two-game, total-goals series to secure a spot in the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals.

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Vazquez opened the scoring in the 31st minute, Berterame added a goal in 58th from long range and Gallardo sealed the win in the 64th with a pinpoint header, as the Liga MX club advanced to the next round with a 5-2 aggregate score.

Diego Gómez scored Miami's goal in the 85th minute with an assist from Messi, but the game was well out of reach for the visitors at that point.

Messi, who played two exhibition matches in Mexico in 2011 and one in 2006, missed the chance to lead Miami to its first semifinals in this tournament.

Monterrey players celebrate after scoring a goal against Inter Miami in the Concacaf Champions Cup.
Monterrey players celebrate after scoring a goal against Inter Miami in the Concacaf Champions Cup.
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The 36-year-old Argentinian won the Leagues Cup last summer and was trying to win his second tournament since he signed with Miami a year ago.

Messi started Wednesday's match, but he had just one scoring chance in the first half.

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner returned from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him since a March 13 Champions Cup match against Nashville to play the second half of last Saturday's Major League Soccer game at Colorado, scoring once in a 2-2 draw.

Monterrey, the team with the highest payroll in the Mexican league, will take on the Columbus Crew in one of the semifinals. America, the reigning champion in Mexico, will play against Pachuca in the other. Pachuca beat Costa Rican club Herediano 2-1 on Wednesday to advance.

Monterrey is trying to advance to its first final since in 2021, when they won their fifth Concacaf title.

Inter Miami finished the match with 10 men because Jordi Alba received a red card in the 78th minute.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.