Every Topic Every Day

Hong Kong XI vs Inter Miami: Messi’s Absence Sparks Discontent, but Miami Emerges Victorious

The recent friendly clash between Hong Kong XI and Inter Miami stirred both excitement and disappointment, with Lionel Messi’s absence from the pitch generating discontent among fans and drawing criticism from the Hong Kong government. Despite the Argentine’s non-participation, Inter Miami secured a convincing 4-1 victory, showcasing an improved performance following a challenging encounter with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr.

Messi’s Absence and Fan Discontent:

The disappointment among Hong Kong soccer enthusiasts and the government reached its peak as Lionel Messi, nursing a hamstring strain, remained on the bench for the entire 90 minutes. Fans, who eagerly purchased over 38,000 tickets within an hour of their release in December, voiced their displeasure through boos during the late stages of the game and at the final whistle. The discontent was further exacerbated by the fact that Messi had played only seven minutes in the previous 6-0 defeat to Al-Nassr.

Government’s Reaction and Organizers’ Explanation:

In response to Messi’s absence, the Hong Kong government issued a statement expressing extreme disappointment with the organizers and demanding an explanation for what they deemed an inadequate arrangement. The government emphasized its intention to seek clarification and hinted at potential consequences for the organizers, stating that the Major Sports Events Committee would consider follow-up actions, including a reduction in funding due to Messi not participating.

Organizers Tatler XFEST Hong Kong, in turn, expressed their own disappointment, asserting that they were not informed about Messi and Luis Suárez’s non-participation prior to kickoff. The organizers distanced themselves from any prior knowledge and shared in the collective letdown of the football fans who had anticipated witnessing the two renowned players in action.

Inter Miami Coach’s Defense:

Inter Miami’s coach, Gerardo Martino, defended the decision to keep Messi and Suárez on the bench, citing the need to avoid risking the eight-time Ballon D’Or winner and his former Barcelona colleague. Martino acknowledged the fans’ disappointment, expressing regret and seeking forgiveness while emphasizing the perceived risk associated with fielding the injured players.

Match Highlights and Miami’s Redemption:

Despite the frustration among fans, Inter Miami delivered a commendable performance, securing a 4-1 victory against Hong Kong XI. Goals from Robert Taylor, Lawson Sunderland, Leonardo Campana, and Ryan Sailor contributed to Miami’s redemption after the 6-0 loss to Al-Nassr. The win marked the end of a 12-game losing streak for Inter Miami, providing a positive note amid the controversy surrounding Messi’s absence.

The clash between Hong Kong XI and Inter Miami will be remembered not only for the disappointment stemming from Messi’s absence but also for the team’s resilience and success on the field. As discussions around the organizers’ responsibility and potential repercussions unfold, Inter Miami’s victory serves as a pivotal moment in their preseason Asian tour, showcasing their ability to overcome challenges and secure a much-needed win.