Even though Lionel Messi scored a penalty and Luis Suarez scored his first goal for Inter Miami, the Major League Soccer club lost 4-3 to Saudi Pro League’s best club Al Hilal on Monday in Riyadh.
Miami fought back to 3-3 from a 3-1 down early in the second half, but a thrilling friendly at the Kingdom Arena ended with a header from Brazilian attacker Malcom in the 88th minute. The match was the latest leg of Miami’s globe-trotting pre-season tour ahead of the Major League Soccer season, which begins on February 21.
In the tenth minute, Aleksandar Mitrovic, a former striker for Fulham and Serbian international, calmly side-footed his shot past Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender after an excellent play that opened up the defence wide. After 13 minutes, Saudi international striker Abdullah Al-Hamdan made it 2-0 by taking advantage of a poor clearance attempt by Miami defender Noah Allen.
However, Miami’s pressure paid off after 34 minutes. Jordi Alba’s lofted cross over the top drew the Al Hilal defenders square, and Julian Gressel grabbed onto the ball before sliding into the path of Suarez, who scored into an empty net at the far post.
Just before half-time, Al Hilal doubled their lead when Brazilian striker Michael nodded home after Callender rushed off his line after Al-Hamdan crossed into the area.
After half time, Messi scored a penalty in the 54th minute after Mohammed Jahfali was harshly adjudged to have taken down David Ruiz in the area. When Miami equalized, Al Hilal was still recovering from their penalty. Messi flicked a long pass into Ruiz’s path and the winger cut in from the left and fired a vicious shot to make it 3-3.
It appeared like the match might end in a draw, but with two minutes left, Malcolm scored to secure the victory.