Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Careless Sundowns defending helps Barcelona triumph

Careless Sundowns defending helps Barcelona triumph

Andres Iniesta returned to the scene of his greatest triumph in his penultimate game for Barcelona as the Spanish champion beat South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in a friendly in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Sundowns pulled one back through Sibusizo Vilakazi with a quarter an hour to time and Lionel Messi made a grand entrance as a substitute as the FNB granted him a standing ovation.

Messi's substitution had the crowd cheering as they got to witness the global football star in action.

However, other than a bust of the former South African president serving as a trophy, handed to Barcelona skipper Andres Iniesta afterwards, there was little reference to the statesman as Messi fever took hold. He said after the match that they have paid their school fees.

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Sundowns will next face Horoya away in the Caf Champions League on Tuesday.

At just 22, he is a long-term prospect, and could be a match victor in the future for the newly crowned La Liga champions.

Barcelona showed their class as they raced into a 3-0 lead through goals from Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes. The goal seemed to have spiked some fear in the Sundowns team as they were making sloppy passes and clearances that could have increased the gap within the first ten minutes.

Barcelona fielded separate teams in either half, having arrived in Johannesburg after an overnight flight on a charter jet in the morning and departing again directly after the game. Messi and his team players later made their way to the scene of Spain's World Cup triumph in 2010.

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