Barcelona in South Africa for Mamelodi Sundowns Friendly

Barcelona to Play Mamelodi Sundowns in Mandela Centenary Cup

The event is one of the main highlights of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations taking place this year.

There were similar scenes when Barcelona made a visit in 2007 at the invitation of Sundowns' billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe, who had long made known his admiration for the Spanish giants and jumped at the chance to have his name up in lights.

Leaders from across the world were in South Africa for his funeral.

In what was the Catalans' second-to-last match of the season, their host on the night Sundowns denied kept Lionel Messi at bare but couldn't keep out Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.

Only defenders Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen were left behind.

Sundowns led inside two minutes through stalwart forward Surprise Moriri, and held that advantage through most of the match before the visitors found an equaliser.

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Finally, the capacity crowd had their wish when Lionel Messi, reportedly not fully fit, entered the fray in the 74th minute, with Philippe Coutinho also being introduced into the action.

Ronaldinho was instrumental in the Barca victor too, as he laid a pass on for youth academy product Marc Crosas, who buried the ball. They will be up against more experienced players.

"Sundowns play nice soccer‚ a good ball possession game‚ a bit like Barcelona".

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

"We did make crucial defensive errors, but I took a lot of positives from this match, including our passing and how we dispossessed Barcelona at times".

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