Barcelona too hot for Sundowns! Spanish Soccer giants FC Barcelona outclassed Absa Premiership champions, Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in the Mandela Centenary Cup at Soccer City on Wednesday night.
Barcelona made their intentions clear in the match when they found the back of the net in less than three minutes to the game through Ousmane Dembele after he cut inside onto his left foot and launched an unstoppable shot past Denis Onyango.
After a nervy start, Mamelodi Sundowns had their first major attack of the match in the 12th minute with Percy Tau missing a glorious chance to level the scores after he found himself with just Barcelona goalkeeper, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to beat.
Percy Tau opted to try and chip the ball over the Barcelona keeper but could not get the elevation needed to beat Ter Stegen who easily collected the ball.
FC Barcelona quickly launched an attack of their own, finding Luis Suarez who dragged his shot wide just a minute later.
Suarez was not to be denied a second time and easily slotted home after he was put through by Denis Suarez who collected a bouncing ball in midfield in the 19th minute.
The home side, however, fought back with Themba Zwane forcing Ter Stegen into a fine save in the 26th minute.
Sundowns captain, Hlompho Kekana was next to test Ter Stegen with a trademark, long-range effort which the visiting keeper tipped over the bar.
Ivan Rakitic who gave Sundowns some tough time in the first half almost added to the Barcelona lead in the 38th minute when his header flew back off the upright.
Barcelona went to the halftime break leading by 2-0.
In the 66th minute, Barcelona substitute Andre Gomes put the game beyond doubt when he punished a casual Sundowns defence by firing home for a 3-0 lead.
The biggest cheer of the night came in the 73rd minute when Lionel Messi finally made his way onto the field. This was after the crowd called his name and a smiling Lionel Messi got up to warm up! The reaction of the crowd in seeing their hero simply said it all.
To their credit, Sundowns kept pushing for a goal of their own and were rewarded in the 75th minute when Sibusiso Vilakazi calmly steered the ball past Cillessen in the Barcelona goal to make the score 3-1.
This was Sundowns great test ahead of their Caf champions League busy schedule.
There was end to end action as the second half wound down without neither side able to find another goal as the match finished 3-1 to the FC Barcelona.