Aymeric Laporte scored an extraordinary 60-yard goal to put Al-Nassr 3-0 up against Inter Miami inside the opening 12 minutes of their club friendly on Thursday night. Lionel Messi watched on from the sidelines in disbelief, as did Cristiano Ronaldo. The friendly was billed as a ‘Last Dance’ for the two to go head-to-head but CR7 missed out through injury with Messi on the bench after muscle discomfort.
Former Manchester City defender Laporte was never known for his goals during his time in the Premier League. But the Frenchman, fancying his chances from far out, scored a free-kick from well inside his own half to put the game out of reach for the MLS side inside the first quarter of an hour.
Noticing Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender was off of his line, Laporte leathered the ball over the American shot-stopper’s head and into the visitors’ net from a good 60 yards out. Ronaldo jumped for joy in the stands.
Al-Nassr took the lead after only three minutes courtesy of Portuguese attacking midfielder Otavio before Anderson Talisca doubled their advantage seven minutes later. The Saudi side then made it 4-0 shortly after half-time with Talisca scoring his second from the penalty spot.
The Saudi Pro League outfit made things worse for the Americans with Mohammed Maran making it a five-goal lead on 68 minutes. And it was soon six soon after. Following a VAR review, Talisca was confirmed as a hat-trick hero for the home team.
Messi was benched after ‘feeling discomfort’ following Tuesday’s match against Al Hilal and Wednesday’s training session in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Ronaldo is currently sidelined by a calf injury.
According to Al-Nassr head coach Luis Castro, speaking on Wednesday, Ronaldo is in the ‘final part’ of his recovery before he ‘resumes full training with the rest of his team-mates’ so he should be back in action for when Al-Nassr’s domestic campaign resumes in two weeks.
Messi’s situation seems to be less serious although he did recently undergo an MRI and wasn’t deemed fit enough to start for Inter Miami on Thursday. ESPN reported that Messi had a problem but could still play due to contractual commitments with the organisers.
The Argentine legend wasn’t initially named on the bench but was subsequently added to an updated squad list.