Lionel Messi is playing with the fear of injury, Inter Miami got the fifth win in a row

Lionel Messi played the entire game despite a first-half injury scare, Benjamin Cremasi broke a tie in the 59th minute and Inter Miami overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat Montreal 3-2 on Saturday night to win its fifth straight Major League Soccer. .

Luis Suarez scored his 11th goal of the season for Inter Miami and Matias Rojas scored from a free kick. Jules-Anthony Vilsaint and Bryce Duke scored for Montreal (3-5-3).

Inter Miami (8-2-3) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) despite Messi being held without a goal or assist for the first time in his nine MLS appearances this season. Inter Miami is 7-0-2 in those nine games; One of those losses came against Montreal in March, a game in which Messi did not play.

Playing in Canada for the first time, Messi left briefly late in the first half after suffering a left knee problem following a foul by defender George Campbell. The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner as the world's best player went down immediately, clutching his knee and writhing in pain.

Inter Miami's medical staff went onto the field to treat Messi, who got up and walked to the Miami sideline after about two minutes. He wasn't subbed out, which gave him a chance to come back a little later.

And for whatever reason, that moment changed the match.

Inter Miami were 2-0 down when Messi was injured; 2-1 when he came back and tied moments after coming off the field. Rojas scored from a free kick – which Messi would normally have taken – to get Inter Miami on the board, and Suarez tapped home from a corner kick late in first-half stoppage time.

Suarez became the third player in MLS history to score 11 goals in his first 800 minutes in a season, joining Mamadou Diallo (11 in 2000) and Ola Kamara (11 in 2021).

The go-ahead goal came when Rojas sent a ball into open space and Cremasci ran onto it – then made a second attempt to nudge the ball past two defenders to make it 3-2. Messi had two chances to extend the lead in the final minutes, both narrowly missing.

Hundreds of fans greeted Inter Miami when the team arrived at its hotel in Montreal after Messi joined Major League Soccer last summer, selling 15,000 season tickets for the first time since the club joined MLS in 2012. Messi has scored in 31 countries.

An announced sell-out crowd of 19,619 spectators – including one dressed in a Messi tracksuit and wearing a goat mask in a nod to Messi as the greatest of all time – attended the match.

Reporting by the Associated Press.

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