David Beckham congratulates Gonazalo Higuain after Inter Miami keep playoff hopes alive
David Beckham congratulates Gonazalo Higuain after Inter beat Miami Cincinnati 5-1 to keep playoff hopes alive…
- Inter Miami beat Cincinati 5-1 and keep their hopes of play-off alive
- Phil Neville’s team needed nothing less than a win, but headed into the break with 1-1
- Top earner Ginzalo Higuain delivered for David Beckham’s struggling franchise
- With a goal and two assists, the striker earned the Man of the Match award
Inter Miami needed nothing less than a win to keep a slim chance of keeping the playoffs alive and delivering Gonazalo Higuaín the star of the season.
David Beckham’s MLS team was tied 1-1 at home with Cincinnati bottoming out, knowing a win was needed to keep their attack alive after the season.
But Phil Neville’s side battled frayed nerves in Fort Lauderdale to battle for a thumping 5-1 win thanks to top earner Higuain.
Gonzalo Higuain (center) performed in Inter Miami’s 5-1 win to keep their playoff hopes alive
The 33-year-old found the net and took two assists in a dramatic second half to earn a congratulatory hug from Beckham after his Man of the Match display.
Higuain proved why he pocketed £4.1million a year with his masterclass and will be sorely missed by the Florida outfit if he pushes through his plan to leave the team at the end of a roller coaster season.
And while he may not be on top form every game, Higuain showed the manager that he still has the magic touch.
The former Chelsea striker was congratulated by Miami owner David Beckham (right)
“Yes, he’s been there and he’s done it, but I’ve learned at Manchester United that even the best players in the world suffer from a dip in confidence and don’t like criticism,” Neville told The Sun.
“When I went to Everton, I remember talking about it with some guys there.
“They have the same insecurities as everyone else. They are people.
“I wanted to take Gonzalo off, but he looked like he was having too much fun. We need that world-class performance from him again. He sometimes gives almost too much and defeats hurt a lot.
Boss Phil Neville (left) talks to the forward during his squad’s midweek 3-0 win over Toronto
“We had to work hard on that with him. It can be hard for a Designated Player who feels like he’s carrying the team.
“But when he plays well, we tend to play well.”
Miami got off to a perfect start on Saturday as Lewis Morgan and Higuain sliced through midfield to set up Rodolfo Pizarro.
But the team stalled in their attack as they missed several chances before half time, allowing Cincinati’s Brandon Vasquez to equalize after 20 minutes.
The Higuain brothers Gonzalo and Frederico combined crucially in 53 minutes to give Miami a much-needed quick start to the second half and restore their lead.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Indiana Vassilev batted home from eight yards to keep Miami in the postseason chase before Morgan and Julian Carranza’s first of the season completed defeat.
Higuain brothers Gonzalo and Frederico (right) joined forces to score Miami’s second
Despite the resounding win, Miami has only three games left to beat the top seven, including a trip to runaway Eastern Conference leaders New England and the odds are very high against them.
Neville’s side will take on Atlanta United, who are currently in the final playoff slot and are five points ahead of Miami with just nine left to play.
Two crippling wins this season have all but scorched Miami’s chances of making it to the playoffs and three more points behind a midweek 3-0 loss to Toronto were vital.
Beckham’s struggling franchise ended a six-game losing streak against the Canadians, scoring their first goals in 396 minutes to bring in the full points.
With play-offs becoming increasingly unlikely, the former England head coach has at least proved he can develop a team that can challenge and compete in the MLS.
A squad led by a series winner like Beckham can’t help but aim for the top and the playoffs are the bare minimum, but Neville has some confidence in his squad for next season.