Barcelona FC Arrives In South Africa

Barcelona to Play Mamelodi Sundowns in Mandela Centenary Cup

Watch Video: Messi and FC Barcelona heavy-weights in SA

Lionel Messi came on as a second-half substitute as Barcelona beat Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in a friendly in Johannesburg on Wednesday as part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations.

Barcelona will lock horns with Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium with the Ghanaian shot-stopper likely to feature.

The only first-team players not to travel to South Africa are defenders Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen, who are both injured.

What could be learned from the end-to-end football - mostly in the direction of Denis Onyango in Sundowns' goal‚ but the other way too - was that Downs‚ as they found out at the 2016 Club World Cup‚ do not have a credible defence at this level. It will help their players playing in the national team‚ in the Champions League and in the league.

"You know‚ so many times you will hear [Downs coach] Pitso [Mosimane] saying‚ "Ah‚ we knew that we would win because we are used to these games".

"With Barcelona it's a culture where from a young age‚ when you are eight years old‚ you play with the same system‚ same philosophy". But we say that Sundowns are the "Brazilians" of SA‚ so we will see.

Eymael said the crowd‚ and Sundowns being keyed up to prove themselves against Barca‚ could be levellers.

"So‚ yes it's a friendly for Barcelona".

The capacity crowd was certainly getting value for their money as the action continued, Sundowns having a couple of chances as ter Stegen tipped a Vilakazi effort onto the bar, before Khama Billiat lost his nerve at the far post with the goal at his mercy and then Hlompho Kekana had a vicious shot tipped over by the Catalan goalkeeper.

"We have spent approximately R900 000 on security as all tickets were sold out by Monday‚" Grobbelaar said.

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