Former Manchester United star Nani hits winner as MLS returns with Orlando vs Inter Miami

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Former Manchester United star Nani hits a late winner as MLS returns with Orlando’s victory over Inter Miami… as stars from across the league take part in five-minute long protest in support of Black Lives Matter ahead of kick-off

  • Wednesday night saw the return of major men’s team sports in the United States
  • The MLS is Back tournament kicked off with Orlando City beating Inter Miami 2-1
  • It followed a five-minute long demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter 

Nani scored deep into stoppage time to give Orlando City a 2-1 win over Florida rivals Inter Miami on Wednesday as Major League Soccer returned after a four-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Manchester United winger scored from close range to give Orlando the three points in the group stage of the ‘MLS is Back’ tournament.

Expansion team Miami, part-owned by former England captain David Beckham, went ahead early in the second half through Juan Agudelo but the game changed when their defender Andres Reyes took an elbow to the face and was taken off on a stretcher.

Nani scored deep into stoppage time to give Orlando City a 2-1 win over Inter Miami

Nani scored deep into stoppage time to give Orlando City a 2-1 win over Inter Miami

The former Manchester United man struck in the 97th minute of the game for a 2-1 victory

The former Manchester United man struck in the 97th minute of the game for a 2-1 victory

Nani passed to Christopher Mueller for the equaliser in the 70th minute before the Portuguese delivered a late winner in the 97th minute.

The match marked the first major US men’s team sports competition since the pandemic hit and may be best remembered by the players’ protest against racial injustice.

Players raised their gloved right fists and took a knee in solidarity with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement prior to the start of Wednesday’s match.

Inter Miami's Juan Agudelo (right) had earlier given his side the lead before the turnaround

Inter Miami’s Juan Agudelo (right) had earlier given his side the lead before the turnaround

Stars from teams across the league – not just the two competing on Wednesday – walked onto the pitch wearing black gloves, face masks and t-shirts related to the movement before their silent demonstration.

They stood around the field while the two teams competing in the game kneeled in the centre circle, with the protest lasting over five minutes.

The tournament, being held without fans inside a bio-secure ‘bubble’ at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, has had a stuttering start.

The match itself followed an incredible display of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

The match itself followed an incredible display of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

Players from Orlando City and Inter Miami took the knee in the centre circle ahead of kick-off

Players from Orlando City and Inter Miami took the knee in the centre circle ahead of kick-off

All 26 MLS clubs were set to take part until FC Dallas were withdrawn on Monday after 10 players and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nashville could follow Dallas after five players tested positive and four more required further testing.

On Tuesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced five members of the team would not make the trip to Orlando due to coronavirus concerns.

Those same concerns led LAFC’s Carlos Vela, the league’s reigning MVP, to opt out of the tournament on Monday.

Players from around the league gathered on the pitch ahead of kick-off on Wednesday night

Players from around the league gathered on the pitch ahead of kick-off on Wednesday night

Stars clad in black t-shirts and gloves raised a fist in the air as part of their demonstration

Stars clad in black t-shirts and gloves raised a fist in the air as part of their demonstration

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