Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said he was surprised by the speed of Mamelodi Sundowns‚ despite his team cruising to a relatively comfortable 3-1 win at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
Sundowns made life easier for a Barcelona side who arrived for the Mandela Centenary Cup on the morning of the game with stray defensive passes by Soumahoro Bangaly and Hlompho Kekana setting up two of the Catalan club’s goals.
But Valverde was impressed by the speed of Downs who‚ despite their defensive frailties‚ looked impressive in attack‚ missing some decent chances and hitting the woodwork before Sibusiso Vilakazi pulled a goal back from 3-0 down to make it 3-1 in the 76th minute.
“It was a good game. It surprised us a little bit because Sundowns were really fast‚” Valverde said.
“The speed of the team was very high‚ and they were very enthusiastic. They had several opportunities and I think that everybody has seen a good team.”
Bangaly’s error led to Ousmane Dembele’s third-minute opener.
Luis Suarez made it 2-0 in the 19th‚ then Kekana’s loose pass across his own area led to Andre Gomes’s 68th-minute third.
Percy Tau’s pass slipped Vilakazi through for Downs’ deserved late goal.
Marc Strydom- TimesLIVE