Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Messi fever hits South Africa as Barca beat Sundowns

Messi fever hits South Africa as Barca beat Sundowns

Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates put on a show as they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 to win the Mandela Trophy on Wednesday, May 16 in South Africa.

The friendly game was arranged to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, with Valverde continuing: "For us it's an honour that we've been invited for such a celebration".

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns defender Wayne Arendse did not waste any time in swapping shirts with Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi. They surprised us a little bit because they were very fast.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said he was proud of his team and called the match a "great learning experience" for him and the players. "I think the difference is like that between the rand and the euro, to sum it up".

The 30-year-old led the Catalans to a double this season but their unbeaten run came to a rude shock last weekend after losing 5-4 to Levante in their second to the last La Liga game.

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Sundowns conceded after just three minutes after a sloppy clearance from Bangaly Soumahoro fell to Ousmane Dembele, who blasted into the top corner. Barcelona quickly took heed of the memo and replied in the nineteenth minute courtesy of a whacking shot from Luis Suarez that left Denis Onyango the Sundowns goalkeeper in aghast.

Denis Suarez rattled the woodwork with a header as Barcelona constantly threatened and turned over two goals ahead.

Barcelona's third goal was in the 66th minute when Andre Gomes capitalised on a defensive lapse to curl past Kennedy Mweene.

Valverde made 10 changes during half-time, but Messi was not among those introduced, leading the crowd to repeatedly chant "Messi, Messi, Messi". Sibusiso Vilakazi grabbed a consolation goal for the Brazilians in the 76 minute.

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