Five things we learnt from #DownsBarca

1 Don't try to outpass Barcelona

Not many teams have beaten Barcelona this season but those teams that have managed to achieve this feat did not do so by trying to beat Barcelona at their own game. Roma, and more recently Levante, used balls over the top and pace to get behind the Barcelona defence. Defending setpieces has also been a weakness for Barca, although they have improved in recent years. The Brazilians tried to pass their way through the Blaugrana and it backfired badly.


2 The gap between the PSL and La Liga is big

Judging by how Sundowns, who are known locally and in Africa for their fluent passing, were stopped in their tracks by a jetlagged Barcelona side – it was evident that the two are worlds apart in terms of technique and fitness. The level and intensity of pressing from Barca gave Sundowns less time on the ball and made them look ordinary, if not below average, at times.


3 Sundowns players were star-struck

Masandawana took longer to settle in the game probably because they were still pinching themselves for most of the first half. After Sibusiso Vilakazi’s goal they started playing with more confidence, as if they had just remembered that they were playing against other humans. It’s hard to blame them though because players from other clubs, reporters, politicians and supporters at large were also mystified by the presence of footballers they usually see on TV or the latest FIFA game.


4 Tau can go to Belgium

A lot has been said about Percy Tau and his ‘pending’ move to Europe. Some believe the 24-year-old should start in the lesser leagues like Belgium, Sweden, Denmark etc., while others believe that he should go straight to one of the top leagues. While it’s unfair to judge a player based on one game, Tau did not produce the goods that were expected against Barca; he was outshone by Vilakazi. Perhaps he should consider going to a place like Belgium to fast-track his development before looking to rub shoulders with the very best.


5 Arendse was the big winner

Whether it was written in the stars, the armbands or plain great timing – Wayne Arendse was the Sundowns player who got the sought-after Lionel Messi jersey at the end of the match. While it will be a great souvenir that he can hang on his wall and tell his grandchildren about in many years to come – it is also worth quite a bit of money. Messi-worn jerseys have been sold for anything between R10 000 to R100 000 online and the value could even triple or quadruple if he managed to get it signed.


What did you learn from the game?

Xolile Mpisane

Twitter xolilesports