Surprise in Saudi Arabia: Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami loses 2-0 to Al-Hilal in a new friendly

The formation of Inter Miami. Photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

The expectation increased as the time of the commitment approached. A crowd approached the Kingdom Arena of Riyadh to observe the first commitment of the Inter Miami of Lionel Messi in Saudi Arabia. And despite the hierarchy of the best player in the world, along with performers of the caliber of Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Albathe one who tried to impose conditions was Al-Hilal, the local team that was encouraged to lose respect for the franchise of international figures.

The inaccuracies of The Herons made the task of Jorge Jesús’ cast easier, but the lack of conviction of its protagonists, as in the case of Abdullah Al-Hamdan, they maintained parity on the scoreboard. If the locals had had a striker with greater authority, they would have taken the lead prematurely. In any case, at 10 minutes Renan Lodi He installed the foundations of a Serbian wall that led to the conquest of the homeowner. Sergej Milinkovic-Savi enabled Aleksandar Mitrovic and the scorer touched quality against Drake Callender’s far post. A wonderful achievement due to the definition and collective elaboration.

Not content with the slightest advantage, Asia’s winningest team continued to hurt the vulnerable pink defense. A weak clearance Sergey Krivtsov allowed him to Abdullah Al-Hamdan unsheathing a violent shot that ricocheted against the pipe and went in: 2 to 0 in less than a quarter of an hour. Without a doubt, Gerardo Martino He had to react so as not to be embarrassed in the Middle East.

The match can be followed on the platform AppleTVin charge of broadcasting the matches of the team where the historic number 10 of the Argentine national team plays.

After the start of the friendlies, which for now had an unfavorable balance for Inter Miami, since they fell against New York City (1-2), tied without goals against The Savior on the team’s visit to the Central American country and fell to the Dallas FC in Texas (0-1), the preseason tour for those led by Tata Martino continues with a visit to the market that revolutionized world football with the arrival of stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Neymar Jr.

Precisely, this afternoon’s duel is against the team where Messi’s Brazilian friend plays, with whom he knew how to share an explosive trident with Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan, who has already worn the pink shirt, is still looking for his first score in his new club after his time at Gremio de Porto Alegre. Neymar could not be part of the game in the friendlyas he continues his recovery from the serious injury he suffered in October 2023, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee.

Waiting for the return of the Saudi Pro League, where he is the only leader with 53 points, seven more than Al-Nassr of CR7, the team led by Jorge Jesús will play against Messi and company. Upon his arrival in Saudi territory, each member of the Inter Miami delegation received a bouquet of pink and white flowers, matching the colors of the Florida club. The sound of a saxophone accompanied the arrival of the team at the airport and the players were offered pistachio bites and a hot drink that no player accepted upon their arrival in the Arab country.

Inter Miami will travel 38,500 kilometers in less than a month until its official debut in Major League Soccer, next Wednesday, February 21, at home, against Real Salt Lake. But before that, he will have another match in Riyadh: on Thursday the 1st he will play against Al-Nassr, the team whose top figure is Cristiano Ronaldo. Will the last head-to-head between La Pulga and El Bicho take place in their careers? We’ll see.

After leaving Arabia, the Las Garzas delegation will fly to Hong Kong to face the national team of the Asian country (Sunday the 4th) and, immediately afterwards, the rival of Messi and the rest of the Inter figures will be Vissel Kobe, Japan league team (Wednesday the 7th). After returning to the United States, on Thursday the 15th there will be a very special duel for the Rosario star.

Inter Miami will receive Newell’s in it DRV PNK Stadium and, despite being a friendly, the cheapest tickets are sold for $115. That meeting will be particular for Leo and Martino, since it is the club where both took their first steps as footballers.


Inter Miami: Drake Callender, DeAndre Yedlin, Tomás Avilés, Sergey Krivtsov, Noah Allen, Jordi Alba, Julian Gressel, Sergio Busquets, David Ruiz, Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi Coach: Tata Martino.

A-Hilal: Habib Al-Watyan, Yasir Al Shahrani, Mohammed Jahfali, Khalifah Al Dawsari, Renan Lodi, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Rúben Neves, Michael, Malcom, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Abdullah Al-Hamdan. DT: Jorge Jesus.

Hour: 15 (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay); 13 (Miami, USA; Colombia and Peru); 12 (Mexico)

Stadium: Kingdom Arena

TV: Apple TV

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