Barcelona FC Arrives In South Africa

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Their arrival for a match in celebration of the centenary of the birth of former South African president Nelson Mandela has been met with feverish excitement by local fans, with just over 80 000 tickets sold within days of them going on sale.

Barca forward Lionel Messi came off the bench to a standing ovation.

His every touch drew huge applause and Sundowns defender Wayne Arendse was beaming after the final whistle having exchanged shirts with the Argentine maestro.

Despite missing training, he still made the nine-hour journey to South Africa with his teammates after being named in a 23-man squad.

It seems Barcelona are taking the match against Mamelodi Sundowns seriously, despite the timing of the fixture.

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"I am so happy with my boys because they always tried to play football the way I want them to - building from the back".

After the match, Barcelona flew out of the country immediately to continue with preparations for their last La Liga match of the season against Real Sociedad on Sunday at the Camp Nou.

The recently crowned La Liga champions confirmed on Tuesday night that they were bringing stars such as Lionel Messi‚ Gerard Piqué‚ Andres Iniesta‚ Luis Suárez‚ Jordi Alba‚ Philippe Coutinho‚ Ousmane Dembélé and goalkeeper Ter Stegen to FNB Stadium.

However, Barcelona were still finding holes in the Premieship champions' defence at will and Kekana had to clear a Dembele effort off his own line, while Denis Suarez almost added a third when his header hit the bar six minutes before half-time in Soweto.