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Lionel Messi gave a last-minute assist to level score for Inter Miami© Twitter

Unarguably one of the finest forwards the world of football has ever seen, Lionel Messi turned into a creator as Inter Miami took on Cincinnati in the US Open Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Trailing 1-2, with only a minute to go before the full-time whistle is blown, Messi produced a sublime assist to help his team pull level 2-2. The Argentine maestro continued his glorious performances on the pith as Inter Miami defeated Cincinnati on penalties to qualify for the tournament’s final.

Inter trailed 2-0 with 22 minutes remaining before the Argentine delivered two perfect assists to striker Leonardo Campana to take the game into extra-time.

Messi’s compatriot Luciano Acosta put Cincinnati ahead in the 18th minute and American striker Brandon Vazquez doubled the home side’s lead with a fine strike from the edge of the box in the 53rd minute.

But in the 68th minute, Messi whipped in a free-kick from the left which was headed home by Campana to breathe some life into what had been a tired display from Gerardo Martino’s side.

Cincinnati thought that they had made 3-1 but Yuga Kubo’s effort was ruled out for handball and then the Japanese forward was denied by a fine save from Miami keeper Drake Callender who also denied Santiago Arias.

Then in the seventh minute of stoppage time Messi, from deep on the left, swung in a ball to Campana at the back post again and the Ecuadoran forward angled home his header to force extra-time. Here’s the video of Messi’s assist:

قوووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووووول اسيسسسسسسسسسسسسسسسسسسست عظيييييييييييييييييم

— Messi World (@M10GOAT) August 24, 2023

Messi Cam@intermiamicf | @opencup

— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) August 24, 2023

As the match went into the penalty shootout, the teams were at 4-4 when Inter Miami goalkeeper saved Nick Hagglund’s penalty for Cincinnati. There was no late twist as Inter Miami scored the 5th spot-kick to book their place in the final.

With AFP inputs

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