Gallery: Messi, Iniesta & Dembele Light Up FNB Stadium
Gallery: FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta & Ousmane Dembele Light Up FNB Stadium
FC Barcelona took on Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup at FNB Stadium on Wednesday, and superstars Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Ousmane Dembele had the South African crowd on their feet!
Tired of reading? Click through the gallery above to see the best pictures from the friendly between Downs and Barca on Wednesday evening!
Manager Ernesto Valverde named a strong starting XI for the Catalan club's 3-1 win over Masandawana on Wednesday, an event that celebrated late South African icon Nelson Mandela.
Despite Messi starting from the bench, the supporters were treated to a fine showing of skill and professionalism from a star-studded Barca, with the likes of Iniesta and Dembele wowing the crowd from the first minute.
The young Frenchman got his side off to the perfect start when Downs defender Bangaly Soumahoro gifted him the ball in a dangerous area. The winger put his side ahead just three minutes into the match, while Luis Suarez made it 2-0 just before the 20-minute mark.
Andre Gomes scored the Catalans' third goal in the second half, while former Bidvest Wits star Sibusiso Vilakazi pulled one back for the hosts just after the highly-anticipated introduction of Messi.
The crowd called for Valverde to bring the Argentine on straight after half-time, but the 30-year-old only came on with around 20 minutes to go until the end of the match.
Messi's class was immediately appreciated by the expecting fans, and every touch of his was cheered. Not long after coming on, the forward unleashed an uncharacteristically venomous strike from distance, striking through the ball with his laces, perhaps just to please the packed stadium.
After the clash, Downs players and their staff rushed to take photos with the Blaugrana stars, and of course, the Argentine was quickly surrounded.
It was certainly a night to remember for those South African supporters who made the effort to watch the game at the stadium. It was a night that did not fail to live up to expectations.
What was your favourite moment or play of the night? Let us know in the comments section below.