Inter Miami’s Stunning Triumph: Messi Benched, Campana Shines! Can They Dominate the Upcoming MLS Season After Hong Kong Glory?

Hong Kong XI Inter Miami

Inter Miami kicked off their 2024 campaign on a high note with a 4-1 victory against a Hong Kong Premier League representative in a pre-season friendly. The win followed a tough 6-0 defeat by Al Nassr just days prior in Saudi Arabia, prompting Miami manager Gerardo Martino to rest key players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba, who all began the game on the bench.

Messi and Suarez remained on the sidelines for the entire 90 minutes, while Busquets and Alba were brought in for the final half-hour. Despite missing their star strikers, Ecuador forward Leonardo Campana stole the spotlight with a brilliant performance in Miami’s attack.

Campana showcased his skill with a clever low finish from 15 yards in the 56th minute, following a stellar pre-assist for Lawson Sunderland’s earlier goal. Robert Taylor had already set the tone for Miami with a fantastic curling strike just outside the penalty area in the first half. The Hong Kong XI managed to equalize with a goal from Estonia international Henri Anier just before halftime.

However, Miami regained control as Sunderland and Campana found the back of the net, securing a convincing win. Ryan Sailor sealed the deal with an impressive header late in the game. With five matches played in 2024, including losses to Al-Hilal, Al Nassr, and FC Dallas, along with a draw against El Salvador, Inter Miami looks ahead to their next challenge against Vissel Kobe in Japan on Wednesday. The team is gearing up for a clash with Newell’s Old Boys in Florida before officially kicking off the 2024 MLS season against Real Salt Lake on February 21.

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