#OnThisDay – Downs, Barca Lock Horns

NewsThe Brazilians have a strong history with the Catalan Giants having played a friendly against the star studded Barca in 2007 with the likes of Ronaldinho and Puyol taking the pitch.

The initial encounter, 11 years ago was played at Loftus Versfeld, with Barcelona traveling with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Deco, Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol and superstar Ronaldinho.

Messi, who had just turned 20 that month, was still an emerging star in the team coached by Dutchaman, Frank Rijkaard while Ronaldinho pulled the stirings for the Blaugrana side.

It was the Brazilians who got off the blocks first in 2007 scoring the opener inside two minutes. Surprise Moriri finished off a superb team move for Gordon Igesund’s side by beating Victor Valdes after just one minute and 27 seconds.

it took the European giants until the 75th minute to find the equaliser. It was Ronaldinho’s free-kick that was blocked by Marlin but fell kindly for Santiago Ezquerro, who finished into an empty net.

Ronaldinho was again involved in Barca’s winner as he set up then Barca youth product Marc Crosas, who scored the winner in the 81st minute.

Fast forward 10+ years and Barcelona returned to South Africa #OnThisDay for the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup at FNB Stadium in 2018.

The Brazilians are no strangers to the spotlight having featured on the world stage at the FIFA Club World cup. The Brazilians would show skill and ingenuity in attack with Percy Tau pulling the strings. The little forward went one-on-one with Marc-Andre ter Stegen but‚ attempting a chip simply fed the Barca goalkeeper.

A loud roar from a sold out FNB Stadium ensued as Lionel Messi dropped his jacket and started his warm up late in the encounter.

It was the goals of Ousmane Dembele after a defensive error in third minute‚ Luis Suarez in the 19th‚ and Andre Gomes in 67th that earned Barca the W.

Sibusiso Vilakazi pulled a well-earned strike back for Sundowns in the 76th minute but the Brazilians held their heads high with a well fought 3 -1 contest playing itself out.

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