Messi and Barcelona teammates beat Sundowns to win Mandela Trophy

Leo Messi

Leo Messi

Careless defending gifted European giants Barcelona two goals as they defeated South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on Wednesday in a friendly game to honour the late Nelson Mandela.

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.

Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes scored for the Spanish champions in a match they easily controlled. They surprised us a little bit because they were very fast.

Dembele, Suarez and Gomes all took advantage of defensive errors, with Dembele curling a left-foot shot into net in the third minute and Suarez doubling the lead in the 18th minute. "If it were to happen it would be great for a lot of people", Tau said. With sloppy goalkeeping and a weak defense Mosimane tried spicing things up in the second half with even goalkeeper Denis Onyango being replaced by Zambian keeper Kennedy Mweene but the results seemed the same.

However, the technical team felt it was important for Messi to participate in the match, probably because of the huge support the 30-year-old enjoys in South Africa.

Valverde made 10 changes during half-time, but Messi was not among those introduced, leading the crowd to repeatedly chant "Messi, Messi, Messi". 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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