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Nani’s Last-Second Ball Lifts Orlando City to MLS All-Star Skills Challenge Title

Nani called game.

MLS: MLS Skills Challenge Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting 18 points behind Atletico Madrid in the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge and only seconds remaining, Nani called game.

On the last kick of the challenge, Nani sent a shot from midfield off the crossbar to earn 25 points in the passing competition, pushing the Orlando City team past Atletico Madrid to win the whole event. Nani’s legend grew as he remained ice cold to drill the woodwork — admittedly, something Orlando City has gotten way too good at — and sinking a trio from one of La Liga’s top teams as well as the MLS All-Star group.

Here’s how it happened:

As the winning team, Nani, Sebas Mendez, and Chris Mueller get to decide where $25,000 in donations will go (ahem, the Orlando City Foundation). Orlando finished seven points ahead of Atleti and 34 ahead of the MLS All-Stars to win the event. The third-place All-Stars trio was made up of Wayne Rooney, Carlos Vela, and Jonathan Dos Santos, while the Atletico Madrid side was Koke, João Félix, and Héctor Herrera. The three squads competed in shooting, touch-and-volley, and passing contests. Muller hit the only volley worth more than 10 points in the second challenge to snatch the bonus points, helping City stay in position to win.

But it was the Lions’ star man Nani who brought a glorious end to a great night of festivities, as the MLS Homegrowns, featuring Benji Michel and Mason Stajduhar, won a penalty shootout against the Chivas U-20 team after playing to a 2-2 draw. Coupled with Abe’s win in the eMLS competition earlier in the week, and it’s been a good week to wear purple with the entire league watching.

Nani will be back in action at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday night with the rest of the MLS All-Stars against Atletico Madrid as the 2019 MLS All-Star Game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET. Hopefully Nani will get the ball under the crossbar on Wednesday.