HONG KONG — Lionel Messi stayed on the bench for the full 90 minutes on Sunday as Inter Miami defeated a Hong Kong XI 4-1 in the latest stop on the MLS team’s preseason Asian tour.
While the Argentine’s non-appearance was a disappointment for the fans who snapped up all 40,000 tickets at Hong Kong Stadium within an hour when they went on sale in December, it was a better performance for Miami after a 6-0 thrashing by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr in Riyadh on Thursday.
Messi played the final seven minutes of the losing effort but a tight hamstring kept the eight-time Ballon D’or winner on the sidelines in Hong Kong along with Uruguayan forward and former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.
The fans who filled the same arena a day earlier at least saw the 2022 World Cup winner in an open training session along with Miami co-owner David Beckham.
Robert Taylor opened the scoring for Miami five minutes before the break with a curling shot from the corner of the area. Henri Anier quickly leveled for the hosts, led by national team coach Jorn Andersen.
Lawson Sunderland restored Miami’s lead early in the second half and then, after 56 minutes, provided the assist for Leonardo Campana, who made it 3-1. Ryan Sailor headed a fourth five minutes from the end.
Miami finishes its Asian tour in Japan on Wednesday as it takes on Vissel Kobe.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer