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Lionel Messi's Regulation and Penalty Goals Lead Inter Miami to Victory in League Cup Final

Lionel Messi scores in Inter Miami's Leagues Cup win, despite initially being booed by the crowd.

In a thrilling Leagues Cup final, Inter Miami emerged victorious over Nashville SC in a penalty shootout that ended 10-9. The star of the show, Lionel Messi, once again showcased his brilliance by scoring early in regulation and converting the first penalty kick. This marked Messi's 10th goal in just seven games since joining Inter Miami.

The goal came in the 23rd minute when Messi received a pass from teammate Robert Taylor after it was initially blocked. Showing his trademark dribbling skills, Messi maneuvered past Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman and unleashed a magnificent bending shot from just outside the penalty box. The ball found the top left corner of the goal, leaving the diving goalkeeper Elliot Panicco with no chance to make a save.

Interestingly, Messi faced a hostile crowd that showered him with boos every time he touched the ball before scoring the goal. However, the stadium erupted in cheers when the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, who led Argentina to World Cup victory last year, found the back of the net.

Nashville managed to equalize in the 56th minute when Fafa Picault's header, off a corner kick, deflected off Miami's Benjamin Cremaschi and into the net past goalkeeper Drake Callendar.

In the 71st minute, Messi had another opportunity to score from a similar position as his earlier goal, but this time his shot hit the post. As a result, the game ended in a 1-1 draw after regulation time.

The tension continued to rise as the match went into penalties. Miami striker Leonardo Campana had a golden chance to secure victory in the dying moments of regulation, but his sliding shot on an open goal struck the post. The disappointment was evident as Messi held his head in his hands.

However, Messi quickly regained his composure and calmly converted the first penalty kick in the shootout, ultimately leading Miami to claim their first trophy.

The anticipation for this final was palpable in Music City, with Nashville SC's impressive win against Monterrey from the Mexican league propelling them to the final against Miami FC. Ticket prices soared after they went on sale, but they slightly eased in the days leading up to the game. Despite the high cost, a capacity crowd of 30,109 filled Geodis Park to witness the thrilling encounter.

Adding to the excitement, Nashville native Reese Witherspoon presented the game ball, and NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo showcased his soccer skills by taking shots on goal before the match. Both Witherspoon and Antetokounmpo are minority owners of Nashville SC, further fueling the buzz surrounding the event.

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