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USA Today via Reuters

It is the same old story for Inter Miami. Hours ago, the Herons endured a shocking 1-2 defeat at the hands of Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals. Their skipper, Lionel Messi, couldn’t be there to save them from misery as he was ruled out for the clash due to injury. Now that the opening leg is done and dusted, can we expect him back in the second leg? If not, when will he return?

Who knew that the absence of one player could change the entire course of a game? However, when that player is Messi, such a statement is unquestionably true. The Argentinian superstar has been sidelined for over two weeks. Yet, there wasn’t an update on his return, until now, as journalist Omar Zeron finally answered the long-awaited question. According to reports, Messi is set to make his return to action this weekend when Inter Miami hosts Colorado on Saturday night. However, there’s a catch.

While the striker won’t be able to play at full capacity, he will be introduced as a substitute to ease him back into full match fitness. As for the looming question of his availability for next week’s second-leg clash against Monterrey, there is indeed good news. Messi is reportedly slated to start on Wednesday, bolstering hopes of a comeback for his side. This update undoubtedly brings a positive outlook for Miami fans and brightens the mood surrounding the World Cup winner’s return. However, once again, there is another roadblock awaiting Inter Miami.

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In addition to the significant backlash following their poor loss, another player has been added to their injury list, further compounding the challenges for Martino and his team.

With a positive update on Lionel Messi comes a negative development for Inter Miami surrounding Robert Taylor

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Robert Taylor was replaced in the 37th minute by Leonardo Afonso following an intense challenge from a Monterrey player. Unfortunately, the exact reason for his injury is unknown, but the player was clearly in pain, shedding tears while seated on the pitch. However, that was not the only cause of concern for Miami.

USA Today via Reuters

The second half became more compelling for the Florida team when David Ruiz was sent off in the 65th minute. This means that the player won’t be available for the second leg. Even after leading the game with Tomas Aviles’ 11th-minute effort from a corner, Monterrey’s Maximiliano Meza and Jorge Rodriguez sealed a perfect comeback. 

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READ MORE: “Have Shame” – 10-Man Inter Miami Suffers Disappointing Home Loss to Monterrey as Lionel Messi Watches From Sidelines, Fans React

Certainly, in addition to the defeat, Taylor’s injury has compounded Inter Miami’s issues, particularly for the second leg. Let’s hope that Lionel Messi returns to provide his side with some relief from these problems and aid them in advancing to the next stage of the competition.

Written by

Abhishek Mishra

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Abhishek Mishra is a senior Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. His early exposure to playing soccer earned him many accolades at college divisions, making him a sports enthusiast. While closely following daily updates for over a decade, Abhishek is well-versed in European soccer and now the MLS, as well.
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Edited by

Arijit Saha