Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Messi, Suarez, Iniesta Star As Barca Beat Sundowns In Mandela Centenary Cup

Razak Brimah's Mamelodi Sundowns Set To Face Barcelona In A Friendly Today Barcelona to Play Mamelodi Sundowns in Mandela Centenary Cup
Cary Erickson | 17 May, 2018, 05:50

Star striker Lionel Messi and midfielder Andres Iniesta have been named in the 23-man Barcelona squad for a friendly match against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Mandela Centenary Cup.

Ernesto Valverde had been criticised for resting players from the thrilling 5-4 defeat to Levante on Sunday that saw Barca's unbeaten LaLiga season come undone in the penultimate match of the season.

However, the Argentina forward didn't train with his teammates on Tuesday, suggesting there could have been another reason why he didn't play at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium.

Eleven years ago it was all about Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, while this year Lionel Messi is the focus for South African fans. and no doubt some of the Sundowns players.

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Barcelona got off to the flawless start thanks to Ousmane Dembele in the third minute.

The Sundowns are now top of the South African Premier Soccer League. Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to be switched on to keep out Percy Tau and Hlompho Kekana.

Only defenders Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen were left behind. "It was nice being here, it was a good experience and it was nice to learn from them", he added.

Sundowns now focus their attention on their CAF Champions' League Group C match against Guinea side Horoya, while Barcelona finish their league season with a home game against Real Sociedad.