Barcelona FC Arrives In South Africa

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Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates touched down in South Africa on Wednesday morning, stoking excitement across the country's football fraternity ahead of a friendly match against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The only first-team players not to travel to South Africa are defenders Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen, who are both injured.

Tonight's match is part of celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Mamelodi Sundowns: 14 Denis Onyango 4 Tebogo Langerman 20 Anele Ngcongca 29 Bangaly Soumahoro 6 Wayne Arendse 13 Tiyani Mabunda 8 Hlompho Kekana (captain) 33 Khama Billiat 11 Sibusiso Vilakazi 18 Themba Zwane 22 Percy Tau.

Barcelona will round off this season's LaLiga campaign with a home game against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

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Barcelona got off to the ideal start thanks to Ousmane Dembele in the third minute. One of the substitutes, Andre Gomes, added Barca's third after good work by Paco Alcacer.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Mina, Alena, Digne, Sergio, D Suarez, Rakitic Iniesta, Dembele, L Suarez.

Supporters at the FNB Stadium - formerly known as Soccer City - grew impatient in the second half, though, when Valverde made 11 changes but left Messi on the bench.

Earlier, Messi and the rest of the squad drew hundreds of South Africans to OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg at 6 a.m. local time to see Barcelona arrive.

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