Al Hilal defeated Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF in Riyadh.

Al Hilal defeated Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF in Riyadh.

Malcolm scored a late header to lead Al Hilal to a 4-3 victory against Inter Miami CF and Lionel Messi in a club friendly on Monday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Pro League team, which is stocked with former European professionals, raced out to a 2-0 victory thanks to a brilliant finish from Aleksandar Mitrovic and a second goal by Abdullah Al-Hamddan, who took advantage of Inter Miami’s bad clearing.

The visitors got one back before halftime via Luis Suárez, who scored his first goal since joining Miami, and Messi’s equalizer was called out for offside before Al Hilal struck again with a header by Michael Delgado to lead 3-1 at the interval.

In a frenetic start to the second half, David Ruiz virtually single-handedly brought Miami back into the game, winning a penalty that Messi converted and then scored with a spectacular shot from the top of the box to tie the game in the first ten minutes.

Both teams had opportunities to win, but it wasn’t until the 88th minute that Al Hilal gained the lead for sure, when an onrushing Malcolm met a cross from Yasir Al Shahrani and smashed a bullet header off Drake Callender’s fingers into the back of the goal.

Miami remains winless in preseason after three games, including draws against El Salvador and a defeat to FC Dallas. Messi, who has played an increasing amount of minutes in each of Miami’s preseason games, was replaced in the 87th minute, shortly before Malcolm scored.

Al-Hilal was heavily connected with a bid for Messi when he left Paris Saint-Germain and became the sport’s most sought-after free agent last year.

He eventually decided to transfer to the United States to join David Beckham’s Miami, where he promptly guided the club to its first title, the League Cup.

He and Miami will be looking for even greater success in his first full season, and preparations include a lengthy tour that includes visits in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Miami plays its second match in Saudi Arabia on Thursday against Al Nassr and Cristiano Ronaldo, albeit the Portugal star’s participation is uncertain owing to a recent injury.

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