(CTN News) – Lionel Messi returned to action with Inter Miami against Toronto FC on Wednesday night.
After a mere 37 minutes of the match, the footballing icon had to be replaced, leaving fans and pundits puzzled as to what happened.
As well as Messi’s early exit, Inter Miami teammate Jordi Alba’s departure also cast a shadow over what should have been a very dominant 4-0 win for the Dolphins.
According to Coach Gerardo Martino, former Barcelona teammates Messi and Alba missed Inter Miami previous match due to “muscle fatigue,” which resulted in their absence.
We decided to rest the star duo as part of a strategy to manage their fitness levels and minutes during a busy schedule that includes the upcoming U.S. open cup final that will take place on September 27.
Both players left the field without apparent contact injuries, however, they both appeared to be in discomfort due to lower-body issues.
In light of Inter Miami impressive unbeaten record in all competitions with him in the lineup, including a 3-0-1 record in regular-season matches under Messi’s leadership, Messi’s early substitution raised questions.
Robert Taylor, Miami’s player who took Messi’s place as a substitute, made an outstanding contribution to the match.
There were two braces recorded by Taylor during the match, and he even provided an assist during the game as well. It is a testament to Inter Miami depth in the second half of the game that he was so impressive in the second half.
Taylor showed excellent ball control skills in the 54th minute, finding space from the edge of the box to fire a shot from the edge of the box.
After a clever chip-pass from Facundo Farias, Taylor scored his second goal of the night in the 87th minute, scored from a challenging angle after a clever chip-pass from the Brazilian.
As part of the Miami offense, Taylor assisted Benjamin Cremaschi in the 73rd minute,
Who scored Inter Miami’s fourth goal of the game.
Miami was able to secure the win despite the early substitutions and interruptions due to injuries, which allowed them to move closer to the line of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Although the victory was an important one for the team, the health of Messi and Alba remains a primary concern for them, especially with the crucial U.S. Open Cup final just a few days away.
There were also injuries to Toronto FC players during the match. Victor Vazquez and Brandon Servania were both injured in the first 26 minutes of the game. As a result of these early stoppages in play, there were nine minutes of extra time in the first half of the match.