Barcelona fantastic as they fell Sundowns

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"They are forever a big team, they are forever a team that scores goals, so you've got to respect that", he added.

How much can one read into a virtual exhibition match for which Barcelona flew in first thing in the morning‚ flew out straight after, and which was sprung as a surprise as much on Sundowns and their coach Pitso Mosimane as it was on Barca?

The Spanish outfit did indeed make the ideal start from their perspective, when with just two minutes played, Ousmane Dembele picked up a poor pass from Bangaly Soumahoro and then beat the Sundowns defender with a sharp turn before burying an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner.

Between the goals, Sundowns' star attacker Percy Tau had two chances, but his chip was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen and he fired a close-range free-kick over.

Mamelodi Sundowns were the butt of jokes on Twitter on Wednesday night after they failed to beat Spanish giants FC Barcelona who arrived in the country about ten hours earlier.

Ronaldinho's free-kick was only punched half-clear by Sundowns keeper Calvin Marlin, and Santiago Ezquerro turned the loose ball home as it came back into the box. Andre Gomes extended the visitors' lead with a fine finish after coming on for Andres Iniesta in the second.

Though Messi, Gerrard Pique and Philippe Coutinho all started from the bench, an otherwise strong Barca XI encountered few hiccups, aside from a Sibusiso Vilakazi consolation strike in the 76th minute.

The Brazilians were to enjoy plenty of possession in the closing stages of the game, but were guilty of over-elaboration, while some sloppy defence from the hosts also meant that Mweene had a couple of late saves to make as the La Liga champions comfortably held onto their 3-1 advantage.