The A-League All Stars have fallen just short of a monumental upset against Spanish giants Barcelona, succumbing to a 3-2 defeat after the visitors came from behind to win.
The A-League All Stars were forced to defend for nearly the entire first half and were lucky to only trail 1-0 at the main break, with Barcelona dominating possession and more than tripling the shot count, but lacking the final finish.
But under coach former A-League and Manchester United icon Dwight Yorke, who next season will coach Macarthur FC, the All-Stars put on a spirited second-half showing and briefly threatened one of footballs great boilovers.
READ MORE:Hasler facing fine as Manly blasts bad refs
READ MORE:Huge 100G crash rocks Indy 500 practice
READ MORE:Simple gesture that shamed disgraced legend
A costly turnover from the Spanish side in the middle of the park led to the All-Stars opening goal, courtesy of Wellington Phoenix winger Reno Piscopo, who tapped in a ball on the goal-line after a messy contest.
Then only minutes later, a stunning counter-attack saw Wanderers left-back Adama Traore finishing off a two-on-one situation to find the back of the net in the 56th-minute mark, giving the All Stars a 2-1 lead.
But the lead only lasted 15 minutes, before two goals in five minutes to Barcelonas Adama Traore and teen star Ansu Fati gave the visitors back the lead.
There was nearly one final twist when Mariners Garang Kuol hit the post in the 88th minute in a promising passage of play.
After that, Barcelona held its nerve to see out the final few minutes.
Thats what I do, its unlucky I couldnt score, said Kuol of his near-goal late in the game. As a kid, this is what we dream about. Ive been watching them since I was five, 10, 15, its a dream come true.
While many doubted whether Barcelona would take to the field with a strong side ahead of the match, the visitors didnt let the fans at Accor Stadium down.
Barcelonas starting squad featured several big names, which included Brazilian icon Dani Alves, and Spanish veteran and World Cup winner Sergio Busquets.
Along with them included rising teen star Gavi and France world cup winner Ousmane Dembele, while star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came on in the second half when his side fell into the 2-1 deficit.
Veteran Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba also appeared in the second half.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter byclicking here!
England playing behind closed doors is an embarrassment, says Gareth Southgate
Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Harry Kewells surprising Champions League call, all you need to know for blockbuster final
Foster lauds courageous coach for WC gamble
Woeful loss prompts massive cleanout calls
May urged to give up alcohol after ugly brawl
Watch the brand new series From now on Stan.
Latest news, reviews and cars for sale