DAILY MAIL 🔵 Messi watches Inter Miami collapse late on in 2-1 defeat vs Monterrey – Shango Media

DAILY MAIL 🔵 Messi watches Inter Miami collapse late on in 2-1 defeat vs Monterrey

  • Miami took the lead after 20 minutes on the night through Tomas Aviles
  • But David Ruiz’s sending off in the second half triggered a late Inter collapse
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

A moment of petulance from David Ruiz cost Inter Miami dearly as Monterrey came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win in the first leg of their Champions Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday night.

Argentine forward Jorge Rodriguez fired home a stunning 89th-minute winner for the Mexican outfit, who scored twice in the final 20 minutes at DRV PNK Stadium after Ruiz was sent off for a slap on Maximiliano Meza. 

With Lionel Messi watching on from the stands amid his recovery from a hamstring problem, Miami initially looked assured in their star man’s absence after taking the lead through Tomas Aviles in the 19th minute.

Tata Martino’s men appeared in control of the tie heading into the interval, despite goalkeeper Drake Callender being called into action on many occasions.

However, after Monterrey slowly grew into the game after the break, with 26 minutes to play the game was flipped on its head when Ruiz, 20, was brandished a second yellow card for slapping Meza.

Inter Miami collapsed late on in a 2-1 Champions Cup defeat to Monterrey on Wednesday night

Lionel Messi watched on from the stands as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury

The hosts imploded after David Ruiz (second from left) was sent off 26 minutes from time

Ruiz was sent off for slapping Monterrey's Maximiliano Meza while already on a yellow card

Monterrey scored twice in the final 20 minutes, with Jorge Rodriguez firing home the winner

After already picking up a booking, Ruiz lashed out at the Argentine winger when chasing the ball just outside Miami’s penalty area, leaving the referee with no option but to give him his marching orders.

And just four minutes later, Miami and Ruiz were made to pay when Meza pounced on a loose ball in the box and turned it home to level proceedings.

Monterrey were in the ascendency after finding that equalizer, with the 10-man hosts forced to retreat and shut up shop in a bid to take a 1-1 draw into the second leg.

Yet just over a minute from time, Rodriguez – with his country’s greatest ever player watching on –  ensured that wouldn’t be the case after conjuring up a moment of magic Messi would have been proud of.

When Diego Gomez lost possession cheaply on the edge of the box, Meza laid the ball at the feet of his compatriot, who took a touch before curling his game-winning strike into the top-right corner.

Callender almost got a hand to it, but the Miami No 1 was unable to make the save and Rodriguez wheeled away in jubilation after finding the back of the net. 

It was a devastating blow for Miami and Messi, who will hope to be back at full fitness by the time the second leg comes around next week.

It was another disappointing night for Miami, who have work to do in next week's second leg

They will hope to have star man Messi back fit and available when they make the trip to Mexico

Monterrey are set to host the decider next Wednesday in Guadalupe, where Martino will need to mastermind a turnaround if his side are to reach the semifinals.

Inter have only claimed one win in four games since Messi limped out of their Round of 16 victory against Nashville last month.

After a 3-1 win over D.C. United, they were thrashed 4-0 by New York Red Bulls and held to a 1-1 draw by New York City FC.

Messi has not featured since mid-March but is getting closer to a return after he was pictured in practice on Tuesday. 

Lionel Messi

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