Messi unhappy with MLS sideline rule despite Miami victory

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Inter Miami‘s Lionel Messi expressed his anger over the new Major League Soccer rule that forces an injured player to the sideline for two minutes, saying, “These types of rules…it’s going bad,” after exiting the pitch during a 3-2 victory over host Montréal on Saturday night.

In the 40th minute of the match, Montréal defender George Campbell fouled the Argentine forward, forcing him to go down immediately while holding his knee. Miami’s medical staff rushed to the scene to attend to the player, but Campbell did not receive a yellow card for the incident.

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Because of new MLS regulations, “If the referee stops play due to a potential player injury in which the player remains on the ground for more than 15 seconds and the medical staff enters the field of play, the player may be required to leave the field of play for two minutes.”

Messi exited the pitch in a crucial moment, after the foul inspired a free kick for Miami in a prime position for the player to score.

During his brief stint on the sideline, the player turned to the camera to express disdain while angrily shaking his head.

Following the game, Miami coach Gerardo Martino expressed the team’s frustration over the new rule by adding: “There are situations that must be revised.

“In Leo’s situation, he was clearly fouled. The player deserved a yellow card, which would mean Messi would’ve never left the field for two minutes. As I understand it, the team that suffered the foul was punished. With these new rule changes, there are situations that must be revised. The infraction was clear and was a yellow card, and ultimately it was us that lost Leo for two minutes.”

The team later experienced another new MLS rule when Luis Suárez failed to exit the field in under 10 seconds when being subbed out for Leo Campana in the 92nd minute. Suárez’s slow walk to the bench forced the fourth referee to delay the substitution for one minute, leaving Miami down to 10 men in the final moments of the match.

“In the case of Suárez, we had a very important difference with the fourth referee in respect to the minute. We thought Suárez exited the pitch in under a minute, he did not see it that way and so Leo Campana’s entry to the game was delayed,” Martino said.

Per MLS, the rule states that “If multiple substitutions are made at the same time by a team, each player leaving the match must leave the field of play within 10 seconds of the Fourth Official raising the substitution board for the final change.”

Despite the issues off the field, the victory inspired Inter Miami to continue its lead atop the Eastern Conference table with 27 points in 13 games and a 8-2-3 (W-L-D) record.

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