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Messi has three shots on goal, exits in 2nd half in Inter Miami's loss to FC Dallas in MLS friendly

Inter Miami Lionel Messi Lionel Messi - The Canadian Press

DALLAS (AP) — Lionel Messi had three shots on goal before exiting early in the second half in Inter Miami's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas in an MLS preseason game at the Cotton Bowl on Monday night.

Messi took three shots in the first half and left the game about 15 minutes into the second half with Inter Miami trailing in front of an announced crowd of 32,221 in a game played in a drizzle and 40 degrees (4 Celsius).

Forward Jesús Ferreira scored on an uncontested shot three minutes into the match to give FC Dallas an early lead that held up.

Messi's first two shots were saved by goalkeeper Maarten Paes, who dove to his left to deflect Messi’s second shot in the 12th minute. Messi’s third shot was wide left in the 27th minute.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner scored twice in Inter Miami’s comeback win over FC Dallas on Aug. 6 at Toyota Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. FC Dallas moved 30 miles north in 2009 after playing its first 13 MLS seasons at the Cotton Bowl, which was a 1994 World Cup venue.

“We have a lot of good memories here from 1994 when Holland beat Brazil,” said Paes, who is from the Netherlands. “It is very historic and beautiful. I love playing in this stadium. The atmosphere was great and the pitch was perfect.”

Uruguayan star Luis Suárez, who teamed with Messi at FC Barcelona from 2014-20, played in his first match on American soil since joining Inter Miami in December. Suárez had two shots on goal in the first half, the first saved by Paes. The second sailed wide right in the 44th minute.

Inter Miami failed to score in its second straight preseason game after a 0-0 draw against El Salvador on Friday.

FC Dallas held off a flurry of shots in the second half behind a pair of replacement keepers in Jimmy Maurer and Antonio Carrera.

“To get to play against Lionel Messi is an unbelievable opportunity,” FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said prior to the match. “For most people, it’s a never. Most markets never get to bring him … you have the greatest probably of all time, with maybe the exception of Pele, and you get to have him twice in your market. Once we hosted at our home, and then we get to share with a different part of the community in Dallas.”

The 36-year-old Messi arrived in Miami last July and scored 10 goals in seven games. He led the club to its first-ever trophy by winning the Leagues Cup final on Aug. 19.

Inter Miami will travel to Saudi Arabia to face Al Hilal next Monday and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr on Feb. 2.


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