Messi scores in his return after injury layoff

Messi scores in his return after injury layoff
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Lionel Messi returned and helped salvage a tie for Inter Miami.

Messi scored shortly after checking in to begin the second half and helped set up Leo Afonso’s go-ahead score two minutes later. But Cole Bassett scored in the 88th minute for the Colorado Rapids and the game ended in a 2-2 tie on Sunday (PH time).

It was Messi’s first appearance for Inter Miami since a hamstring issue led to him getting subbed out early in the second half of a Concacaf Champions Cup match against Nashville on March 13. He had missed four Inter Miami games since, plus two games with Argentina.

He wasted little time announcing his return Sunday. Messi’s fourth goal in as many MLS matches this season came in the 58th minute, beating Colorado keeper Zach Steffen with a low shot that hit the left goalpost, then skidded back across the goal mouth before settling into the next just inside of the right post.

Not long after play resumed, Messi sent a pass to David Ruiz, who found Afonso all alone in front. Afonso put it home for his first MLS goal, giving Inter Miami the lead.

It didn’t last. Bassett knotted things late in regulation and Inter Miami (3-2-3) had to settle for just one point instead of three. Rafael Navarro got the first goal for Colorado (2-2-3), scoring late in the first half on a penalty kick.

A pair of fans got onto the field in the final minutes in separate incidents, presumably to try to get a selfie with Messi. They were both quickly escorted off by security, and time expired shortly after the second fan got onto the pitch. / AP


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