Messi rescues Inter Miami with dramatic equalizer against LA Galaxy

Lionel Messi

The stars came out in full force to witness Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami facing off against LA Galaxy in Sunday’s 1-1 draw – and predictably, the Argentine didn’t disappoint.

Tennis world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, actors Halle Berry, Edward Norton, and Liv Tyler, musician Anderson Paak, footballers Tobin Heath and Christen Press, and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi were all present to experience the phenomenon of Messimania firsthand.

LA Galaxy, once a hub for some of Major League Soccer’s biggest signings after David Beckham’s arrival in 2007, seized the lead in the 75th minute courtesy of Serbian striker Dejan Joveljić.

Despite boasting a new star-studded roster, now featuring Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets, Inter Miami found themselves outplayed for much of the match and appeared destined for defeat until Messi’s intervention in the 92nd minute.

Fans may have felt a sense of déjà vu for the equalizer as former Barcelona teammates Messi and Alba harked back to old times, exchanging passes four times before Messi capped off the move by sliding in to slot the ball past Galaxy goalkeeper John McCarthy.

Miami received a boost from a red card shown to Galaxy midfielder Marco Delgado in the 88th minute after Busquets seemed to go down easily, prompting the referee to issue Delgado a second yellow.

Despite being a home game for Galaxy, the stadium erupted with a significant roar upon the goal, followed by pockets of Argentina and Miami fans bowing to Messi from the stands.

Former Galaxy star Beckham, now a part-owner of Inter Miami with a statue outside the club’s stadium, refrained from celebrating the equalizing goal against his former team.

“It’s true that they dominated the first half, especially during the period when Riqui Puig had the most time on the ball and orchestrated the team’s play very effectively,” Miami coach Gerardo Martino remarked after the match, as reported by MLS.

“They recently acquired their last two Designated Players, and as a result, the team looks completely different,” Martino added, referring to Galaxy stars Riqui Puig and Joseph Paintsil. “They now boast a fantastic No. 9, along with two dangerous wingers, and they’re also very solid defensively.

“However, we showed the character to keep pushing and managed to equalize, with the touch of genius from Leo.”

Additionally, Messi’s performance on Sunday came just hours before he reached 500 million followers on Instagram, making him the second most-followed figure on the platform, trailing only his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.