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Inter Miami
CONCACAF Champions League | Quarter-Finals | 1st Leg
Apr 4, 2024 at 1am UK
Inter Miami CF Stadium

Inter Miami
1 - 2
Monterrey

Aviles (19')
Gomez (33'), Alba (42'), Ruiz (61'), Busquets (76'), Suarez (89'), Sailor (90+3')
Ruiz (65')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Meza (69'), Rodriguez (89')
Gallardo (45+3'), Rodriguez (83'), Vegas (90')

Preview: Inter Miami vs. Monterrey - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League clash between Inter Miami and Monterrey, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Inter Miami will be hoping to secure a lead in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final tie against Monterrey when they face off at Chase Stadium on Thursday morning.

The return leg is scheduled for April 11 at Monterrey's Estadio BBVA, with the winners moving on to meet either the reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew or the Mexican outfit Tigres UANL in the semi-finals later this month.


Match preview

Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi looks on during the second half against Orlando City at Chase Stadium on March 2, 2024© Reuters

Inter Miami received a round-one bye in this competition by winning the 2023 edition of the Leagues Cup and began their first-ever Champions League campaign in the round of 16 against Nashville.

In the first leg of that tie, the Herons managed to secure a late draw thanks to a last-gasp goal from Luis Suarez before the team took care of business at home in leg two with a 3-1 victory, sealing their passage to the quarter-finals with a 5-3 aggregate score.

Lionel Messi was instrumental in the last round against Nashville, but the Argentine World Cup winner has struggled to shake off a hamstring injury, and the Herons have certainly felt his absence in recent weeks.

Messi has missed Miami's last four league matches, and following Saturday's underwhelming 1-1 draw at home agaisnt New York City, Tata Martino's side have now dropped points for a third time in that period, with a lone win coming over DC United.

The one major positive from last week's match for Martino, though, would have been the performance of another ex-Barcelona star Sergio Busquets, who was a standout in the make-shift defence, and the Miami boss will look to the veteran for another big performance here against the free-flowing Liga MX side.

Monterrey players celebrate on July 27, 2023© Reuters

Monterrey have won the Champions League five times, with their most recent triumph coming in 2021, and they are currently the highest-ranked side across the entire CONCACAF region, nine places above Inter Miami.

They have been in some strong form this season and earned their spot in the last eight of this competition with relative ease, outclassing Guatemala outfit Comunicaciones 7-1 on aggregate before overcoming FC Cincinnati 3-1 in the round of 16.

Rayados are also in great shape in their domestic league, only behind Club America at the summit on goal difference, although they did concede their first defeat of the campaign over the weekend, losing 2-0 to Guadalajara at home after being reduced to nine men.

Still, Fernando Ortiz's side are now gunning for a third consecutive win on the road in this competition and are yet to lose a game away from Estadio BBVA after seven matches in all competitions this season.

Key to their success has been the performance of former Cincinnati forward Brandon Vazquez, who has already netted eight times in 14 appearances for the club since switching from MLS, with three of those goals coming in four matches in this competition.

Inter Miami CONCACAF Champions League form:


Inter Miami form (all competitions):


Monterrey CONCACAF Champions League form:


Monterrey form (all competitions):



Team News

Inter Miami CF starting eleven before the match on March 23, 2024© Reuters

As mentioned, Busquets filled in at centre-back over the weekend, and it will be interesting to see if Martinez employs the same tactic here, with Nicolas Freire and Sergii Kryvtsov both expected to be sidelined due to muscle and hamstring injuries respectively.

While Messi remains the biggest miss for the Herons, he is just one of several absentees, with the likes of Facundo Farias, Federico Redondo, Ian Fray and Robbie Robinson also out with injuries, while Benjamin Cremaschi is flagged as a doubt.

Julian Gressel has filled in for Messi in recent games and should keep his place in the starting 11, while right-back Marcelo Weigandt debuted for the side against NYCFC last time out and will be hoping to make the starting lineup again in this match.

For the visitors, Ortiz has most of his side fit and available, with the only exception being centre-back Axel Grijalva, who is facing an extended period on the sidelines due to a torn lateral knee ligament.

Victor Guzman and Hector Moreno should continue in the heart of the backline, with Stefan Medina and Gerardo Arteaga completing the defensive quartet in front of Esteban Andrada in goal.


Inter Miami possible starting lineup:
Callender; Weigandt, Sailor, Aviles, Alba; Ruiz, Busquets, Gomez; Gressel, Suarez, Taylor

Monterrey possible starting lineup:
Andrada; Medina, Guzman, Moreno, Arteaga; Rodriguez, Romo, Canales; Meza, Gallardo; Vazquez


SM words green background

We say: Inter Miami 1-2 Monterrey

While Monterrey did concede their first loss of the season over the weekend, Ortiz notably rested a few key players for that match, likely with one eye on this crucial encounter. With Messi missing from the hosts' lineup and Monterrey back to full strength, we feel the visitors will have too much firepower for the Herons in this one.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.




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Game History

How you voted: Inter Miami vs Monterrey

Inter Miami
47.5%
Draw
10.0%
Monterrey
42.5%
40
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Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi looks on during the second half against Orlando City at Chase Stadium on March 2, 2024
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