Late Messi Magic Denies Galaxy Victory: Inter Miami Holds Galaxy to 1-1 Draw

Lionel Messi’s electrifying performance at Dignity Health Sports Park left a record crowd of 27,642 in awe as Inter Miami salvaged a 1-1 tie against the Galaxy.

Dive into the match recap to uncover how Messi’s late-game heroics spoiled the Galaxy’s aspirations for a triumphant season opener.

Late Messi Magic Denies Galaxy Victory: Inter Miami Holds Galaxy to 1-1 Draw

Riqui Puig turned the ball over far into the Galaxy end, setting up Messi’s goal. After two give-and-gos, Messi and former Barcelona colleague Jordi Alba scored from the middle of the box with Messi stooping to his knees.

Five minutes had passed when Galaxy player Mark Delgado received his second yellow card and was sent off by referee Gabriele Ciampi, who had been replaced by the regular MLS referees due to their lockout, but had let the call stand.

In the 75th minute, Delgado provided an assist on Dejan Joveljic’s goal, which was the lone one for the Galaxy. Drake Callender, the Miami keeper, saved a shot by Puig but deflected the rebound at Delgado, who supplied Joveljic on the other side of the box for a simple tap-in while the Miami keeper was on the ground.
Ciampi had to let the goal stand after it passed a protracted VAR check.

When defender Sergio Busquets used his right arm to bring down winger Joseph Paintsil deep in the box, the Galaxy (0-0-1) had a great chance to take the lead early on and were awarded a penalty. However, Callender made the right guess when it came to Puig’s spot-take attempt, diving to his left to knock it wide.
In the 29th minute, Callender denied Puig once more, this time by reaching up to block a shot from the top of the box with his gloved hand and pushed it over the crossbar. Thirty minutes in, Messi one-hopped a shot from the top of the box that Galaxy keeper John McCarthy pushed down with both fists to set up Miami’s first chance.

Late Messi Magic Denies Galaxy Victory: Inter Miami Holds Galaxy to 1-1 Draw

Six players who weren’t on the roster at the beginning of the previous season were starting for the rebuilt Galaxy in their season opener. Paintsil, one of those new players, had a fantastic debut, tearing up Miami’s left side of defense all evening. Eight saves were made by Callendar for Miami (1-1-0).

Normally a USL League One official, Ciampi was beleaguered all night trying to maintain control over the game, giving dubious cautions and letting some hard play go unpunished.

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