Luis Suarez’s late goal secures Inter Miami a 2-2 draw against Nashville SC, while Lionel Messi continues his impressive form for the Herons

Lionel Messi scored a stunning second-half goal and Luis Suarez struck in second-half stoppage time to earn a thrilling 2-2 draw for Inter Miami in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup vs. Nashville SC on Thursday.

It was only seven months ago that Miami beat Nashville on penalties in the Leagues Cup Final, and this one had all the elements of a tournament classic: tensions spilling over, a razor-thin VAR decision and ultimately, the best players showing up in the clutch.

It looked like it would go down as a frustrating night for Messi despite his goal, as he survived a late injury scare, complained to the referee and hotly confronted opponent Aníbal Godoy in the second half.

Nonetheless, his teammate and good friend Suarez headed in a 96th-minute equalizer supplied by Sergio Busquets, and Miami now goes into the second leg with a crucial away goals advantage. 

Nashville waited less than four minutes to seize control of the game, with Jacob Shaffelburg hitting a left-footed shot high into the net over goalie Drake Callender.

Luis Suarez #9 of Inter Miami CF celebrates with teammates after a goal against Nashville SC 

It was a frustrating night for Lionel Messi despite the fact that he scored for Inter Miami

It was a frustrating night for Lionel Messi despite the fact that he scored for Inter Miami

Though Shaffelburg completed the move, it was USA defender Shaq Moore who was at the heart of it, driving inside after receiving the ball on the right before picking it up again and feeding his teammate to score.

Nashville soon had a shot saved off the line as well, though the play was ultimately blown dead for offsides.

It wasn’t a great half for Miami but Messi certainly made his presence felt as he twice came close to scoring.

On the first occasion, he shot wide from about 12 yards out inside the 13th minute after being supplied by teenager Noah Allen. 

And it wasn’t the first time the pair connected in the half, as a smart ball from the left-back found Messi about 20 minutes later after a dummy from Luis Suarez.

Messi was able to glide past Nashville’s Daniel Lovitz but shot right at goalie Joe Willis – and after a decent attempt from Julian Gressel before halftime, Nashville made their visitors pay for their lack of cutting edge.

Shaffelburg began the second period just as he did the first, cutting in from the left  before rifling a shot into the top corner for a 2-0 lead. 

That advantage wouldn’t stand for long, though as Messi finally got the better of Willis in the 57th minute and curled the ball into the goal from the top of the box after being supplied by Suarez.

Nashville appeared to have put the game to bed when Moore scored in the 83rd minute, but the goal was ruled offsides.

Suarez then tapped into a familiar connection with Sergio Busquets in the 96th minute, and headed home to give Miami an away goals lead heading back to South Florida. 

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