Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t take part, but the Portuguese star had the last laugh as his Al-Nassr embarrassed Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami on Thursday.
Al-Nassr scored early and often during Thursday’s clash, despite the absence of Ronaldo. The Portuguese icon was left out due to a recent injury, while his longtime rival, Messi, was only named to Miami’s bench due to a recent knock of his own. He came on in the game’s final moments but, by that point, the damage had already been done.
It was a case of “no Ronaldo, no problem” for Al-Nassr, though, as their other stars took charge in what ended as a 6-0 blowout. Otavio scored first, netting just three minutes in, before Brazilian star Anderson Talisca made it two in the 10th minute. The goal of the day, though, was scored by Aymeric Laporte, who chipped Drake Callender from 60 yards on a free kick where Miami were simply caught napping.
Al-Nassr didn’t slow down in the second half, despite several physical scuffles toward the end of the first. Talisca netted his second from the penalty spot just five minutes into that second half before Mohammed Maran made it 5-0 in the 68th minute. Talisca proceeded to make it 6-0 by completing his hat-trick, before doing Ronaldo’s famous celebration to the delight of the home crowd.
Take your pick!
You could give this to just about anyone on Al-Nassr, as there were plenty of standouts for the Saudi Arabian side. Virtually every Al-Nassr player was better than every Inter Miami player. This was pure domination from opening to closing.
We’ll give it to Talisca, though, as he did net a hat-trick. The Brazilian is a player who has the ability to dominate a game, even if he has been out of the European spotlight for some time. Thursday was quite a reminder of how good he can be as he led a dominant Al-Nassr performance.
THE BIG LOSER
Again, take your pick!
Plenty of Miami players will leave this one with their heads down in shame, and rightly so. It was a defensive disasterclass, one that saw the Herons concede goals in just about every way possible. Giveaways, poor marking, bad shape… there was even a 60-yard free kick mixed in there!
Because of that, the loser is Inter Miami as a whole. This is a club eager to prove itself on the world stage and, as an MLS team, there are a finite amount of opportunities to do that. They squandered this one, to say the least, as the world will be laughing at them after seeing this scoreline.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Inter Miami’s worldwide preseason continues with the Asian leg of this massive tour as the Herons will next face a Hong Kong XI on Sunday before taking on Japanese side Vissel Kobe on Wednesday. After that, Miami will return home to conclude preseason against Messi’s boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys.