Monterrey, the Mexican team, dealt a blow to Lionel Messi and Inter Miami’s CONCACAF Champions Cup hopes on Wednesday by securing a 5-2 aggregate victory in their quarter-final showdown.

Brandon Vazquez, German Berterame, and Jesus Gallardo found the net, leading Monterrey to a well-deserved 3-1 victory in the match. As a result, Monterrey advances to the semi-finals where they will face Major League Soccer champions Columbus.

In the first leg of the match in Florida, Inter Miami trailed 2-1, prompting them to include Messi in the starting lineup for the first time since his recent injury absence. Inspite of Messi’s presence, Monterrey displayed superior performance across all areas, leaving Inter struggling.

Inter goalkeeper, Drake Callender was called into action early, making a crucial save from a header by Monterrey’s US international striker Vazquez. Although Messi had a promising opportunity for Miami in the first half, he missed the target from inside the area.

Monterrey seized the lead in the 31st minute after Vazquez capitalized on a mistake by Callender, who failed to connect with Sergio Busquets and left Vazquez with a clear shot on goal, which he calmly converted.

Inter Miami struggled to create significant chances thereafter, and Messi’s former Barcelona teammate, Luis Suarez, saw a goal rightfully disallowed for offside just before halftime.

In the 58th minute, Monterrey extended their lead with a stunning goal from their Argentine striker, Berterame. After a precise build-up, Berterame evaded his marker on the edge of the box and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner.

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Six minutes later, Berterame turned provider, lofting a cross to an unmarked Gallardo, who expertly headed the ball past Callender.

Miami’s woes continued as former Barcelona defender, Jordi Alba was shown a red card in the 78th minute for a second yellow, following a stamp on Gallardo.

Diego Gomez provided a late consolation goal for Miami in the 85th minute, heading in Messi’s well-placed free-kick.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino said Monterrey’s second goal had killed the tie off.

“We said that even if we conceded the first goal it didn’t change anything because we always needed to score twice.

“But their second goal ended the tie for us,” Martino said.

The CONCACAF Champions Cup is the premier regional club competition for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, with the winner of this year’s tournament earning a place at next year’s expanded FIFA Club World Cup.