Lionel Messi scored a screamer and won his first trophy in North American soccer as Inter Miami beat Nashville on penalties (10-9) after their final ended 1-1 in 90 minutes.
The Argentine World Cup winner had put Miami ahead in the 24th minute with a wonder strike into the top corner but Fafa Picault levelled for Nashville in the second half.
After Messi hit the post and Leonardo Campana missed a last second chance to win the game in regulation for Miami, the game went to a shoot-out which ended in a duel between the two keepers and Elliot Panicco’s shot being saved by Miami’s Drake Callender.
Messi and his team-mates rushed to celebrate with the American goalkeeper, who had made some key saves late in the game to keep his team alive.
Miami, in their third season of existence, were rock bottom of Major League Soccer when Messi joined them a month ago but Messi, along with Spanish pair Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, has utterly transformed the team leading them on a seven game unbeaten run to the League Cup title.
Co-owner David Beckham, who created the club, said he was stunned by the way the former Barcelona trio had been able to bring about change so quickly.
“It is like a movie, you watch these players play and it is, emotionally, everything about their play is beautiful,” he said.
Seven-times Ballon d’Or winner Messi has now scored 10 goals in seven games in the pink shirt of his new club and on Wednesday has the chance to reach another final when his team take on Cincinnati in the semi-final of the US Open Cup. — AFP