JOHANNESBURG - Miss the action in the Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup? Here's a timeline of proceedings in what was a thriller of a match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Barcelona at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
1’ – Luis Suarez got play underway in a sold-out arena. This was also a home-coming match for the Uruguayan after being part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
3’ Ousmane Dembele didn’t waste time in putting the Spaniards ahead. An unmarked Bangaly Soumahoro delivered a blunder of a pass that Dembele calmly intercepted before turning the Ivorian-international and unleashing a delighted curler past Denis Onyango.
12’ Percy Tau had a chance to put Sundowns back on level terms after he was one-on-one with Ter Stegen but his finishing was poor hence failing to trouble the German-international.
18’ L. Suarez also got his name on the score-sheet. Thanks a nice-worked through ball by namesake Denis.
23’ Onyango produced a magnificent save to deny Suarez a brace.
29’ Hlompo Kekana came to Sundowns' rescue after clearing Dembele’s shot off-the-line.
33’ Kekana nearly pulled one back for the home-team with a thunderbolt-strike from long-range but Stegen produced a fine save and settled for a corner.
38’ D. Suarez was found unmarked after a tempting ball from the right-flank but his header came off the upright with Onyango well-beaten.
47’ Two minutes into the second stanza, the entire stadium was up on its feet as soccer lovers roared “Messi’’; this was a vivid expression to their long-wait to see the Argentine live in action.
58’ Tau parried yet another opportunity to trouble Stegen as he was put through on goal but instead of taking a shot at goal, he decided to find a teammate which proved to be futile as the Catalan giants had already recovered.
62’ Football came second best as the entire stadium produced the famous “Mexican Wave’’; reminiscing to some Spanish football such as Andres Iniesta and Gerald Pique their record-breaking win in this same venue eight years ago.
65’ Messi finally went for his warm-ups and the stadium went insane with chants and Sundowns’ players were also in astonishment of such a scene, as a result, they lost concentration. Barcelona capitalized on that and got their third goal courtesy of Andre Gomes.
71’ Scrap off the ovation Messi got earlier, and focus on the one the reception as he made his way into the pitch and you’ll understand why he’s one of the most celebrated athletes in the world.
75’ Messi introduction is what Tau needed as motivation, hence, he dribbled his way past Barca’s defence to set-up Sibusiso Vilakazi for Masandawana’s consolation.
84’ The Argentine proved just why the South African supporters wanted him in action as he dazzled with Sundowns’ defence with ease.
85’ Tebogo Langerman had a chance to make-up for his earlier poor finish but his long-range shot this time around was parried away by Stegen for safety.
90+4 The match came to an end with a 3-1 win to the visitors.