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Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul live updates, highlights, results from Lionel Messi’s debut with MLS side

Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul live updates, highlights, results from Lionel Messi’s debut with MLS side

South Beach has spent much of the summer rolling out the red carpet for its newest superstar, Lionel Messi. And after months of anticipation, the Little Magician will finally make his Inter Miami CF debut on Friday night.

Messi’s arrival has injected life into a franchise that has been an unmitigated disaster in its opening 22 games of the league season. The club has just four wins, with goals becoming increasingly hard to come by.

MORE: Inter Miami beginner’s guide | Messi’s new stadium | Club owners | New coach

Enter Messi, a delicate dribbler and passer who tends to leave defenders lying in his wake. Expect the Argentinian playmaker to create bundles of scoring chances over the course of his time in the sun.

It won’t all be smooth sailing for Messi, who went from the heights of European soccer down to the dumpster fire that has been Inter Miami in 2023. Still, he’s got a wand of a left foot, an ever-expanding radar laying out the most susceptible points in a defense and that touch of flair to put butts in seats.

MORE: How Inter Miami starting 11 could look with Messi, Alba, Busquets

Fans will be hoping to get a glimpse of everything he offers when his club takes on Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.

The Sporting News is following the match live and providing score updates and commentary.

Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul score

 1H 2H Final
Inter Miami
Cruz Azul


Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul live updates, highlights from Lionel Messi’s debut

(All times Eastern)

7:15 p.m.: MLS’s official Twitter account has got jokes, huh?

1 ticket for 1 ticket for
Oppenheimer Messi debut
please 💣 please 💖 pic.twitter.com/DT9h2LNjlA

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 21, 2023

6:50 pm.: The grass at DRV PNK Stadium is finely manicured ahead of tonight’s showcase. Only the best for Messi and Co.

¡Ya llegamos, @InterMiamiCF! 🦩 pic.twitter.com/QjELgl5Mac

— CRUZ AZUL (@CruzAzul) July 21, 2023

6:30 p.m.: And here comes the main event: Messi and Busquets headed into the stadium ahead of their Inter Miami debuts. Plenty of fanfare surrounding them.

Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets have arrived for their Inter Miami debuts 🍿 pic.twitter.com/lTRRDniKsC

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 21, 2023

6:25 p.m.: Perhaps the three greatest athletes in their respective sports, all in one setting. A star-studded affair, indeed.

Word is LeBron James , Tom Brady among the big names planning to attend Leo Messi’s Inter Miami debut tonight. @HeraldSports @MiamiHerald #InterMiamiCF #Messi𓃵

— Michelle Kaufman (@kaufsports) July 21, 2023

6:20 p.m.: Flags detailing all of Messi’s wonderment are sprawled across the concourses. This is setting up to be quite the homecoming.

6:00 p.m. (Two hours from kickoff): Looks like Messi isn’t the only member of sporting royalty to be at DRV PNK Stadium.

LeBron James is expected to attend Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami debut on Friday, a source told ESPN.

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 21, 2023

Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul lineups

It has been far from a steady campaign for David Beckham’s Inter Miami, which finds itself fixed at the bottom of the league table after 22 games.

The Eastern Conference outfit isn’t lacking in star power, boasting former Mexico coach Tata Martino, longtime Atlanta United marksman Josef Martinez and fellow newcomer Sergio Busquets, among others. Still, the lineup lacks creativity. Fortunately, it’s adding one of the game’s greatest-ever puppetmasters in Messi, a player who can find a striker through a monsoon. La Pulga figures to give Martino’s squad just the sort of playmaking boost it has been craving once he gets up to speed. While that might not be enough for Inter Miami to earn a postseason appearance this year, it will certainly captivate audiences.

Inter Miami projected starting lineup (3-4-3): Drake Callender (GK) — Christopher McVey, Sergiy Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller — DeAndre Yedlin, Sergio Busquets , Dixon Arroyo, Noah Allen — Lionel Messi, Leonardo Campana, Josef Martinez.

Inter Miami subs (12): To be confirmed

As one of Liga MX’s biggest clubs, Cruz Azul represents a formidable foe for Messi and Co. Much like their opposition, La Maquina have struggled in the opening portion of their season, dropping each of their first three matches. Uriel Antuna leads the line for the Mexico City side, who are hoping to settle into mid-table form.

Cruz Azul projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Andres Guidino (GK) — Rodrigo Huescas, Willer Ditta, Carlos Salcedo, Ignacio Rivero — Kevin Castano, Erik Lira, Christian Tabo — Rodolfo Rotondi, Moises Vieira, Diber Cambindo

Cruz Azul subs (12): To be confirmed

MORE: What to know about Lionel Messi’s new South Florida apartment

How to watch Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul

DateSat., July 22Fri., July 21Fri., July 21Sat., July 22
Time1 a.m. GMT8 p.m. ET8 p.m. ET10 a.m. ACT
  • TV channel: Univision, TUDN (U.S.)
  • Streaming: Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass, Fubo

Fans across the globe can access Messi’s Inter Miami debut via Apple TV+’s MLS Season Pass, with a subscription. The game will also be streamed on Fubo, which carries Univision and TUDN and offers a free trial.

MORE: Watch MLS Season Pass on Apple TV at 50% off the full-season price

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