RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Lionel Messi and Inter Miami began their tour of Saudi Arabia by losing 4-3 to Al-Hilal on Monday.
The Major League Soccer team is playing two matches in the oil-rich kingdom as part of its pre-season preparations, but not even Messi could inspire it to victory in Riyadh.
While Messi scored with a penalty in the second half, Malcom scored the decisive goal to win the game in the 88th.
Al-Hilal had been heavily linked with a move for Messi when he left Paris Saint-Germain and became the sport’s most sought-after free agent last year.
He eventually opted to move to the United States to join David Beckham’s Miami and quickly led the team to its first trophy, the Leagues Cup.
He and Miami hope to achieve even more success in their first full season and preparations include an extensive tour with stops in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Japan.
A possible confrontation with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nasser on Thursday is the most anticipated match.
Former Newcastle and Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic put Al-Hilal ahead in the 10th minute and Abdullah Al-Hamdan doubled the lead three minutes later.
Another of Miami’s superstar signings, Luis Suarez, closed the gap, but Michael restored Al-Hilal’s two-goal lead in the 44th.
Messi’s moment came in the 54th minute, and a minute later David Ruiz equalized the score.
Just when Miami seemed to tie, Malcom scored the winner.
AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer