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September 21, 2013
• Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 11740
Pedro 33', 47', 72'
Thanks a lot for joining me for tonight's game. My name is Tom Webber and it has been an absolute pleasure to guide you through the action. Have a great night.
FULL TIME - Rayo 0-4 Barcelona: Paco Jemez's side showed plenty of heart but Pedro's first hat-trick for the Blaugrana put too much distance between the two sides. Fabregas rounded off the scoring to temporarily put Barca three points clear at the top of the league.
90' + 3'
The final whistle goes!
90' + 2'
SAUL GOES CLOSE!! Trashorras' sends the free kick in and it bounces to the back post where Saul gets his head to it. Valdes holds his ground, though, and turns it behind.
90' + 2'
Mojica pops up on the left again, having drifted out of the action this half, and runs at Song. He knocks the ball past Song and wins a free kick for his side.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of two added minutes.
Tello uses his pace to drive past Embarba, but he does well to stick with him and block his cross from the byeline. It is just as well he did, Messi was waiting inside the area for a simple finish.
Barca seem content to hold onto the ball and see this one out now. I am sure Messi would like to end the game with a goal, though!
GREAT STRIKE!! Trashorras plays a one-two around Song and hits a sweet effort at goal. It looks to be arrowing into the top corner but Valdes manages to get across and take the pace off of it with a bounce before holding onto it.
Jonathan Dos Santos
JUST WIDE!! Arbilla has time on the ball in excess of 30 yards out and he rifles a low shot to Valdes' right. The keeper dives to his right and looks to have got a hand to the bouncing effort, but the referee signals for a goal kick.
TELLO SHOULD MAKE IT FIVE! The winger springs the offside trap but is unable to guide his shot past Ruben at his near post. He stuck that one far too close to the keeper.
Rayo have put plenty of effort in this evening but it looks like their heading for another heavy defeat. Barcelona, meanwhile, have managed to pull out a resounding win for the second game running without even looking to be at their best.
GOOOOAALL!! Awful defending from the hosts. Galvez passes the ball straight to Xavi 20 yards from goal, and he lays it straight to Fabregas. He has plenty of time to pick his spot and he fires an effort past Ruben and into the bottom corner.
Trashorras manages to break through the middle and he attempts to curl a pass up to Larrivey with the outside of his boot. He is unable to pull it off, though, and possession runs all the way through to Valdes.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
GREAT SAVE!! Messi and Neymar are surrounded by white shirts but somehow put a one-two together which puts the Argentine in on goal. He holds off the defender and aims for the bottom corner, but Ruben gets down to divert the shot around the post.
That now makes it the sixth game running that Barcelona have put three goals past Rayo Vallecano. Paco Jemez's men have put in a good shift but have been unable to match the immense quality of the Catalan giants.
GOOOOAAL!! Pedro completes his hat-trick! That is a sumptuous goal as Neymar comes in from the left and plays a one-two with Fabregas. The Brazilian looks up and rolls the ball across the bace of goal for Pedro to tap in at the back post for his third.
Valdes spills it... but he saves the follow up effort! It was a well-struck effort from the big centre-back, one which the keeper could not hold onto. But he did manage to get in the way of the second attempt.
Trashorras wins a free kick just over 30 yards from goal and it looks as though Galvez is going to strike it at goal...
This result would temporarily put Barcelona top of the league, as Atletico Madrid, who are level with them at the summit, do not play until later this evening. They travel to Valladolid which is by no means an easy game.
OFF THE POST!! Neymar carries the ball into the area from the left and looks to bend an effort into the far corner. It is far better than his first-half effort, but this time he is denied by frame of the goal.
Rayo still keeping up the tempo but you sense that Barcelona can strike at any point.
Good defending! Montoya whips a fantastic cross out to Neymar on the left and his touch lays it off for Adriano. The Brazilian fires a shot towards goal but Embarba is back to get his body in the way and divert it behind for a corner.
Galvez is forced to hoof the ball behind for a corner after Messi dances past Baena and fires a shot at Ruben, which the keeper lets squeeze past him. The Argentine has had a great game this evening, but has been more focused on creating rather than going for goal himself.
Another decent spell for Rayo here and they manage to win a corner on the right flank. The ball is whipped in and Saul rises to meet it, unmarked, at the back post but Valdes manages to keep it out.
Mojica again looks to run at the defence from the left and he manages to win a free kick as Montoya blocks him off. Trashorras whips the ball into the box and after Valdes fails to clear, it eventually fumbled away.
Barcelona have won their last nine matches in La Liga, and have not been defeated on their travels since March, when Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid beat them 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
JUST WIDE!! Messi wins a free kick 25 yards from goal and takes it himself. He bends a powerful effort over the wall but it drops just outside the post to Ruben's left.
Arbilla gives away possession cheaply and almost instantly Neymar is baring down on goal. He slips a pass to Messi who shoots wide, but the referee's assistant had his flag raised for offside.
GOOOOAAL!! Pedro has his second! Rayo give possession away far too easily and the ball is played to Fabregas down the left flank. He looks up and spots Pedro running into the area and supplies him with the perfect cross which the winger sticks into the top corner.
We are back under way!
The teams are back out on the pitch and the second half will be upon us shortly.
HALF TIME - Rayo 0-1 Barcelona: In what has been an exciting, open first half, the Catalan giants secured a narrow lead through Pedro's stike. Trashorras missed a chance to level from the spot for the hosts, but if they can keep up their current tempo then the next 45 minutes should be just as entertaining. Be sure to join me in 15 minutes for it!
45' + 2'
The half-time whistle goes!
45' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional two minutes.
Adriano goes down inside the area following a clash of heads with Bueno. The Brazilian is receiveing treatment on the pitch as it seemed a failry painful one.
Adriano needs to be careful here. The Brazilian had already been booked before conceding the penalty and now he has gone in late and hard on Trashorras. The referee lets it slide, but he will be totting those offences up.
Yellow CardRaúl Baena
Pique nearly gives away another penalty as he tugs on the shirt of Perea inside the area. Fortunately for him the Rayo man stays on his feet and gets an effort away at goal, however he puts it straight into Valdes' arms.
Barca claim for a penalty... denied! Pedro is brought down inside the area but the referee is unmoved and allows play to continue.
Penalty saveVíctor Valdés
SAVED!! Valdes keeps out a penalty for the second consecutive game as he dives to his right and parries Trashorras' effort aside. It remains 1-0.
PENALTY TO RAYO!! Adriano launches himself into the back of Trashorras as the ball drops down following Valdes' great stop from Viera's effort and the referee points to the spot.
Barca nearly go two up! Another quick break and once more it is Messi putting Pedro through on goal. With the keeper off his line, the winger attempts to clip an effort over the top of him. He does that, but he also puts it over the bar.
GOOOOOAAL!! Pedro opens the scoring! Arbilla drives forward from left-back but loses possession in midfield Barcelona counter and play the ball into Messi. The Argentine beats two players before rolling a pass out to Pedro who slots it into the far corner.
Galvez does brilliantly to dispossess Neymar wide on the left but then loses out following his attempts to keep the ball in play. He goes down clutching his face extremely theatrically following the challenge from Neymar. And they said the Brazilian was known for his play acting!
This is a good spell of pressure for Rayo here. They have Barcelona penned back in their own half but are unable to make the most of a free kick from the left as Valdes punches Trashorras' delivery away.
That is amateur! The Rayo goal kick does not go out the area, so the referee orders it to be retaken. Come on guys, we all know you can't get caught on that rule!
Trashorras picks up a booking for dissent as he voices his dismay at the referee's decision to award the Blaugrana a free kick for his tackle on Song.
NEARLY AN OWN GOAL!! Perea jinks away from Mascherano but his pass up to Bueno is too powerful. Montoya looks to mop up by playing the ball back to Valdes but he, too, is overzealous with his pass. Fortunately for him it rolls just outside the post with the keeper scrambling to make it.
Poor effort from Neymar! Messi glides past a couple of players in the centre of park and rolls a pass out to his new team-mate on his left. Neymar takes a touch and tries to bend a right-footed effort into the far corner, but he fails to put enough curl on it and ends up sending his shot well wide.
Rayo Vallecano have former Barcelona player Roberto Trashorras in midfield this evening. The Spaniard made just one senior appearance for the Catalan giants, a 2-1 defeat against Deportivo, before moving to Real Madrid. That is right, Real Madrid! He never managed a first-team appearance for them, though.
Mascherano steps out from the back and attempts to thread a pass out to Neymar on the left. He gets the ball away but a late challenge from Saul sees him drop to the ground and writhe around. The referee awards him a free kick.
Ruben almost embarrassed there! Adriano's deflected cross nearly loops into the far corner but the keeper just about gets enough on the ball to turn it behind. He was caught right underneath that one.
Xavi knocks a great pass down the right to put Pedro in behind Mojica. Ruben is alert to the danger and races off of his line to kick the ball into the stands for a throw in.
It looks like it was Tito who got back on the line to clear Neymar's shot away. That just about makes up for leaving the Brazilian unmarked at the back post in the first place!
NEYMAR! So close to opening his Liga account. Xavi drills the ball across the area and Neymar picks it up at the back post. He looks to bend it back across goal but the defender gets back onto the line to block his shot. It was not quite in the corner.
An end-to-end start here! One moment after Rayo nearly take a shock lead, it takes a last-ditch challenge to stop Messi from opening the scoring. If the hosts remain this open, though, you sense Barcelona's quality will see them run away with it.
CRUCIAL INTERCEPTION!! Messi somehow dances his way into the Rayo box, knocking the ball past Saul and then rounding the keeper. He looks certain to score but Arbilla chases back and manages to knock it behind for a corner.
WHAT A SAVE!! Mojica has already shown he is keen to attack from left-back for Rayo tonight and having put a poor ball in the first time around, he vastly improves this time. Perea connects with the cross and heads it on target but Valdes makes a fantastic save to keep it out.
Pedro, who starts in place of Sanchez tonight, lays the ball off to Song and instantly looks to turn and run down the line. The Cameroonian attempts a through-ball up to the winger but his pass is well overhit.
We are under way!
Neymar got on the scoresheet in Barcelona's last trip to Madrid, earning the Blaugrana a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa. The Brazilian will be hopeful of breaking his Liga duck tonight against the team who have conceded the most goals so far this season.
Rayo have already been beaten 5-0 twice so far this season. Tonight they come up against a side who they have been defeated by in their previous five meetings. In each of those matches, the Blaugrana have managed to score at least three times. We should be expecting goals this evening, then!
Paco Jemez is unable to select Lass Bangoura for tonight's game due to a suspension, while for the visitors, Adriano starts at left-back with Jordi Alba out until next month through injury. Pique has been declared fit to start alongside Mascherano at the back, though.
Barcelona bench: Pinto, Bartra, Alves, Dos Santos, Iniesta, Sanchez, Tello.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Song, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
Rayo bench: Cobeno, Nacho Martinez, Adrian, Galeano, Larrivey, Cueva, Embarba.
Rayo (4-2-3-1): Ruben; Tito, Arbilla, Galvez, Mojica; Baena, Trashorras; Perea, Viera, Saul; Bueno.
Gerardo Martino hands rests to a few players this evening following their 4-0 win over Ajax in midweek and with Real Sociedad up next on Tuesday. Sergio Busquets is not in the match-day squad, while Dani Alves starts on the bench.
Hello and welcome to this evening's LIVE text commentary on the Liga clash between the struggling Rayo Vallecano and league leaders Barcelona. My name is Tom Webber and I will be walking you through all the action tonight.
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