Sundowns careless as Barcelona triumph

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Messi and Barcelona teammates beat Sundowns to win Mandela Trophy

Superstar Lionel Messi, who did not warm up with Barca before the game, was introduced with 20 minutes to go.

The Spanish giants kept their end of the deal in fielding all their star players as they defeated the Absa Premiership champions in a Mandela Centenary Cup match on Wednesday.

Earlier, Messi and the rest of the squad drew hundreds of South Africans to OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg at 6 a.m. local time to see Barcelona arrive. But we also took the ball from them, pressed them, and they kicked the ball outside a few times.

Loud cheers could be heard as manager Ernesto Valverde led stars such as Lionel Messi‚ Gerard Piqué‚ Iniesta‚ Luis Suárez‚ Jordi Alba‚ Philippe Coutinho‚ Ousmane Dembélé and goalkeeper Ter Stegen through the terminals.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said he was proud of his team and called the match a "great learning experience" for him and the players. When they scored the first goal in the first minute, we started to ask: "'How many goals were coming?'" he said.

The hastily arranged friendly match, which earned Barcelona three million euros from billionaire Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe, was ostensibly to mark 100 years since the birth of Mandela. 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. However, the Sundowns team were not seemingly afraid of Messi as they tried by all means to ensure that his name was not part of the score sheet as he did in the LaLiga with an impressive ninety-eight goal tally in thirty-seven matches.

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