Messi and FC Barcelona heavy-weights in SA

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Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes scored for Barcelona against the South African league victor in a game that formed part of South Africa's celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who died in 2013.

Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes scored for the Spanish league and cup winners before Sibusiso Vilakazi pulled one goal back before a sell-out 80,000 Soweto crowd.

Despite missing training, he still made the nine-hour journey to South Africa with his teammates after being named in a 23-man squad.

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Ernesto Valverde had been criticised for resting players from the thrilling 5-4 defeat to Levante that saw Barca's unbeaten LaLiga season come undone in the penultimate match of the season.

German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will be between the sticks while Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will partner Ousmanne Dembele up front.

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.

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Substitutes: Jasper Cillessen (GK), Gerard Piqué, Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, R de Galarreta, J Cuenca.

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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