In their first start for Inter Miami CF after joining the Major League Soccer team, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets scored two goals and provided an assist in a 4-0 victory over Atlanta United on Tuesday night at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The former Barcelona colleagues didn’t waste any time getting involved. Busquets lofted a superb pass over Atlanta’s defence to Messi, who missed his initial shot but tapped back the rebound to give Miami a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.
Robert Taylor assisted Messi on his second goal, which he scored on a counterattack in the 22nd minute to extend the lead and give Miami a 3-0 lead going into halftime of their Leagues Cup contest.
After the intermission, Taylor scored the last goal for Miami with a helper from Messi, who was replaced in the 78th minute to a thunderous ovation from the home fans. Victor Ulloa entered the game six minutes after Busquets exited.
“I’m glad we were able to gratify our supporters; it was a nice performance. We made another step in the right direction, and it was a really excellent game,” remarked Miami manager Gerardo Martino.
Miami won its group and advanced to the Leagues Cup round of 32, where it will host an unnamed opponent.
Messi now has 100 goals against clubs after scoring against Atlanta.
In a thrilling victory over Cruz Azul on Friday, Messi and Busquets made their debuts as replacements. Messi scored the game-winning kick.
After the game, Martino, who oversaw Messi and Busquets for a season at Barcelona, claimed he wasn’t shocked to see them combine for the game’s first goal.
Martino observed, “These two players are so good at what they do, they create space.”
The attitude has altered since those two arrived, according to Miami right-back DeAndre Yedlin. “Guys are obviously really enthusiastic. However, I believe that just being there boosts everyone’s confidence. And I believe there is a hint of terror in the eyes of the opponents we are playing right now.