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WATCH: The goal that saved Lionel Messi's Inter Miami? Tomas Aviles scores last-gasp equalizer against NYCFC to keep slim playoff hopes alive

Tomas Aviles Inter Miami 2023Getty Images
  • Martinez equalizes in stoppage time
  • Messi-less Miami earn a point
  • Herons' playoff hopes dwindle

WHAT HAPPENED? Following a near hour-long lightning delay to begin the match, and one of their worst performances yet to date under Tata Martino, Inter Miami - someway, somehow - grabbed a point at the death through Argentine defender Tomas Aviles.

The 19-year-old centerback leapt into the air on a corner kick, slamming the ball into the back of the net with his forehead to score a stoppage time equalizer.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Herons playoff dreams remain alive, but with just four matches left in the regular season, they're nearing a must-win-out situation if they want to qualify for this year's postseason.

Inter Miami sit 13th in the Eastern Conference, four points out of a playoff spot and still have to play 2023 Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati, Charlotte FC twice and their next opponent: the Chicago Fire.

WHAT NEXT FOR INTER MIAMI? The match against the Fire presents an opportunity for Lionel Messi to return to the pitch, with kickoff slated to happen on Wednesday, October 4.

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