Inter Miami vs Nashville SC live score, updates, highlights as Messi finds Suarez for Champions Cup lead

Lionel Messi’s first foray into North American continental club football hung in the balance as Inter Miami kicked off the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup matchup against Nashville SC at home.

With a Leagues Cup final rematch slated in the Round of 16, the two sides played to a thrilling 2-2 draw in the first leg from Tennessee last week, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both delivering goals in a two-goal comeback. Suarez’s 95th-minute equalizer was a massive moment in the tie to give Inter Miami a level aggregate scoreline to bring back home with them to Ft. Lauderdale.

The tiebreaker in the event of an even aggregate scoreline is away goals, so unless there’s another high-scoring thriller here, Inter Miami would hold the advantage in the event of a 0-0 or 1-1 draw.

It doesn’t seem to be happening for Nashville in the second leg, as just like last week, Messi and Suarez have delivered in the early going tonight, putting Inter Miami in complete control of the matchup.

MORE: A full look at the results, schedule, and bracket for the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup

The Sporting News is following the Inter Miami vs Nashville SC match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.

Inter Miami vs Nashville SC live score

  Score (39′) Goal scorers
Inter Miami 2 Suarez (8′),
Messi (23′)
Nashville SC 0

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET / 5:15 p.m. PT
Location: Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Referee: Drew Fischer (CAN)

Starting lineups:

Inter Miami (5-3-2, right to left): 1. Callender (GK) — 24. Gressel, 6. Aviles, 27. Kryvtsov, 21. Freire, 18. Alba – 55. Redondo, 5. Busquets, 20. D. Gomez — 10. Messi, 9. Suarez.

Nashville SC (4-2-3-1, right to left): 1. Willis (GK) — 18. Moore, 3. MacNaughton, 23. Washington, 2. Lovitz — 20. Godoy, 54. Davis — 19. Muyl, 10. Mukhtar, 14. Shaffelburg — 11. Boyd.

Inter Miami vs Nashville SC live updates, highlights, commentary

Inter Miami vs Nashville SC: First Half

41st min: Chance, Inter Miami! Diego Gomez rifles one on net from 25 yards out, and forces Joe Willis to tip it over the crossbar! It looked like the shot was probably sailing just high on its own, but Willis didn’t want to take any chances.

Nobody on Nashville stepped to close Gomez down as he dribbled forward, so he figured he’d take the shot himself without much support.

39th min: Inter Miami look less inclined to get forward as regularly as they were before the goals, but they are still controlling possession and keeping Nashville SC completely at bay. Jacob Shaffelburg’s speculative cross flies out of play as the frustration continues.

32nd min: Inter Miami have been truly exceptional in possession tonight. Sergio Busquets turns an opponent and wins a foul, and the hosts continue to take the air out of the ball and play keep-away as they protect this 4-2 aggregate lead.

23rd min: GOAL! INTER MIAMI! LIONEL MESSI SCORES! Inter Miami look to be in complete control of this match, and by proxy, the Round of 16 tie!

Diego Gomez does brilliantly to cut it back to Messi out top of the six-yard box and the hosts are well and truly in command! Nashville SC coughed up a two-goal lead at home in the first leg, can they turn this around in similar fashion? A comeback seems way off in the distance based on the performance in this opening half-hour.

18th min: Hany Mukhtar tees up Jacob Shaffelburg for a shot that goes just wide of the right post, but the flag goes up to nullify the chance, and replay shows Mukhtar was miles off while trying to come back to the Inter Miami back line. Nothing is working right now for the visitors.

16th min: Nashville SC have been totally and utterly dominated through the early stages of this match. Inter Miami have been good enough for their lead, and are beginning to frustrate the visitors in South Florida. Nashville can’t do anything with their small share of attacking possession, and have been overrun in midfield.

8th min: GOAL! INTER MIAMI! It’s Lionel Messi to Luis Suarez yet again and Inter Miami take an early lead! Messi feeds the vertical ball just moments before a defender steps in, and Suarez is free on goal, delivering the low cut finish for the early advantage both here in the game and on aggregate!

It’s Lukas MacNaughton who Inter Miami pick on two times in a row, first on the Messi miss moments ago and then here as Suarez turns him around with a gorgeous dummy and run.

7th min: Chance, Inter Miami! Lukas MacNaughton coughs it up in possession and Lionel Messi can pounce, charging forward on goal once again with very little resistance, but Messi skies it over the crossbar! You’d expect him to finish that from 14 yards out!

4th min: Lionel Messi goes barreling forward through the Nashville SC midfield and goes down just inches out top of the penalty area. It looked like he was seeking out the contact the whole way, but wins the foul as Anibal Godoy is booked very early in this match.

It’s a highly dangerous free-kick chance for Inter Miami and the superstar Messi, but he blasts it straight into the Nashville wall.

Kickoff: They’re under way at Chase Stadium! Inter Miami and Nashville SC have 90 minutes to break their CONCACAF Champions Cup deadlock, entering the second leg level at 2-2 on aggregate.

Inter Miami has the slight advantage thanks to their two away goals. The winner gets either FC Cincinnati or Monterrey.

Inter Miami vs Nashville SC: Pre-match commentary, analysis, stats, and more

15 mins to kickoff: Warmups are almost complete and the match is close to kickoff! Lionel Messi is getting himself ready to play a big role in continental action. After becoming a UEFA Champions League hero, he’s targeting North American glory as he nears the final stages of his career.

30 mins to kickoff: Inter Miami sport their own high-quality goalkeeper, as Drake Callender has earned himself another call-up to the U.S. national team for the upcoming March international break. Callender has started the season well, but USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter touched on Callender’s locker room presence as an important part of his spot in the national team squad.

With Matt Turner struggling at Nottingham Forest, and no other American goalkeeper in great club form, could Callender push his way into the lineup? So far, Callender has been called into three international camps without seeing the field, which has to be frustrating.

45 mins to kickoff: Nashville SC has a good, ol’ fashioned goalkeeper battle between Elliot Panicco and Joe Willis, the latter of whom starts tonight. Panicco was the starter last year against Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup final, serving as the Cup goalkeeper, but this time around it’s Willis to get the nod in both legs.

Willis started the first two league games of the year, but was replaced by Panicco in the most recent match. In the first leg, Willis became the 245th goalkeeper to be scored on by Lionel Messi, out of 349 goalkeepers faced. Except it wasn’t all Messi in the match, as Willis did well on a few other occasions.

1 hour until kickoff: The Inter Miami lineup is in, and just as we expected, Lionel Messi starts in a 5-3-2 formation alongside his good buddy Luis Suarez. There are no surprises from Tata Martino, as Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba also start while Federico Redondo is also in the mix.

Nashville SC have also released their XI, and there are no surprises for Gary Smith either. The only question was who would start next to Lukas MacNaughton at center-back with Walker Zimmerman injured, and that nod has gone to Taylor Washington.

1 hour 15 mins to kick: Inter Miami will wear their pink kits tonight, which frees Nashville SC up to wear their yellow kits.

1 hour 30 mins to kick: New Inter Miami signing Federico Redondo got his first start in the first leg of this matchup, and played nearly the full 90 minutes. He impressed in his 66 minutes over the weekend against CF Montreal, and looks to be a real strong option for Tata Martino in an otherwise thin Inter Miami midfield.

1 hour 45 mins to kick: This is not a surprise, as Tata Martino essentially confirmed it in his pre-match press availability, but there’s a new report from Diego Monroig of ESPN in Argentina that Lionel Messi will be fit to start today for Inter Miami.

2 hours to kickoff: Nashville clearly have some extra venom in their boots as they look for revenge from last year’s Leagues Cup final shootout defeat. That’s evident by the spicy studs-up tackle from Lukas MacNaughton in last week’s match which which followed through onto Lionel Messi’s lower leg.

Messi was lucky to escape injury, but social media was divided over the incident, with some criticizing the placement of MacNaughton’s studs while others claimed he was not responsible for the follow-through on a clearance.

MacNaughton was asked about the incident while previewing today’s match, and he dodged the question, saying simply, “They’re making something out of nothing. I have tackled enough players in my career that it is what it is. If somebody wants to make a fuss about it…it’s just another tackle.”

Inter Miami vs Nashville SC lineups, team news

Lionel Messi was rested against CF Montreal in the loss last weekend, but Tata Martino confirmed that it was for pre-planned maintenance, and not related to the studs-up tackle from Lukas MacNaughton in the first leg of this continental matchup. Thus, Messi is good to start in this match, as is Luis Suarez.

Inter Miami are without Benjamin Cremaschi and Facundo Farias, with the former recovering from hernia surgery and the latter working through his recovery from an ACL injury. Ian Fray and Franco Negri could both be back from their ACL injuries by the end of the month, but will likely be brought along slowly.

Inter Miami starting lineup (5-3-2): Callender (GK) — Gressel, Aviles, Kryvtsov, Freire, Alba – Redondo, Busquets, D. Gomez — Messi, Suarez.

Inter Miami subs (9): Dos Santos (GK), Jensen, Sailor, Allen, Sunderland, D. Ruiz, Taylor, Borgelin, Campana.

Nashville talisman Hany Mukhtar returned from his early season injury in the first leg, and he will likely play a major role here. However, the visitors were dealt a major blow last week as critical defender Walker Zimmerman went down with a knee injury in the 82nd minute and will miss a number of weeks.

The only other player unavailable for Nashville is Randall Leal, who is recovering from a hip injury.

Nashville SC starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Willis (GK) — Moore, MacNaughton, Washington, Lovitz — Godoy, Davis — Muyl, Mukhtar, Shaffelburg — Boyd.

Nashville SC subs (12): Martino (GK), Panicco (GK), Sejdic, Maher, Kallman, Gaines, Yearwood, Bauer, Anunga, Ajago, Bunbury, Surridge.

How to watch Inter Miami vs Nashville SC

  • TV channel: FS2
  • Streaming: Fubo USA, Fox Sports GO, Fox Sports app & website, ViX

Fox Sports holds the English-language broadcast rights to the CONCACAF Champions Cup in the United States, and has earmarked this match for televising on FS2, which can be streamed on Fubo.

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