Five assists for Messi, hat-trick for Suarez as Miami hit six

Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi fights for the ball with US midfielder Daniel Edelman during the Major League Soccer (MLS) football match between Inter Miami CF and the New York Red Bulls at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 4 May, 2024.AFP

Luis Suarez scored a second half hat-trick and Lionel Messi had five assists and a goal as a rampant Inter Miami crushed the New York Red Bulls 6-2 in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

Two goal substitute Matias Rojas sparked a second half rout from Eastern Conference leaders Inter after New York had led 1-0 at the break.

Without Messi, Miami had fallen to a 4-0 defeat to the Red Bulls in New York in March, but they more than avenged that loss with their merciless second half demolition job.

Dante Vanzeir had put the Red Bulls ahead in the 30th minute, slotting home after Wikelman Carmona's shot came out off the post, following a superb through pass from Swedish playmaker Emil Forsberg.

Gerardo Martino's Inter lacked intensity and ideas in the opening 45 minutes but the coach's half-time change transformed the game.

Paraguayan Rojas was introduced for the second half and took just three minutes to make an impact, collecting a pass from Messi and evading two defenders before unleashing an unstoppable drive from 25 yards out.

Messi then put Miami in front when Rojas robbed Carmona and found Suarez who slipped the ball to the Argentine who made no mistake.

The World Cup winner then turned provider again as he split the New York defence with a brilliant through ball to Rojas who deftly chipped over the advancing Carlos Coronel.

Suarez's hat trick then came in the space of 12 minutes -- he first found the target when Messi chipped in a ball from the right and the Uruguayan hooked home a volley.

It was playground stuff minutes later when Suarez played a one-two with Messi and then poked home to make it 5-1.

Messi was yet again the creator for Miami's sixth which Suarez turned in from close range from the tightest of angles.

New York, who came into the game third in the East, had a late consolation in the final seconds with a penalty from Forsberg.