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March 17, 2013
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 68197
David Villa 25'
L. Messi 40', 57'
Raúl Tamudo 70'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls! Barcelona were once more terrific at home, with that their 10th Liga victory in a row at Camp Nou. With that cheerful stat I'll be on my way. Good night!
Rayo's goal came from their substitute Raul Tamudo. He diverted Luna's cross past Pinto with his first touch of the game, but not before Barcelona had already taken a three-goal lead.
FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 3-1 RAYO A Messi double helped Barcelona ease past Rayo at Camp Nou, with Villa grabbing the Blaugrana's other goal before the break. The victory takes them 13 points clear of Real Madrid in La Liga.
90' + 3'
Messi chips onto the roof of the net!! The Rosario-born forward very nearly completes his hat-trick with an impudent effort from 15 yards.
90' + 2'
Great tackle from Mascherano! The Barcelona defender stops Chori on the edge of the box with a no-nonsense challenge.
90' + 1'
Pinto is being told to get on with things by the referee as he ponders taking a goal kick. Why he's time-wasting is beyond me, his team are two goals up!
There will be three minutes of added time at the end of this one.
Yellow Card José Pinto Colorado
Remarkably, Rayo have enjoyed 47% of possession tonight, despite being on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line. Few teams ever see that much of the ball at Camp Nou.
Thiago would start for pretty much any other club in the world, I'm sure of it. Yet he often only comes on as a sub for this Barcelona side. Nevertheless, the young Spaniard has just shown his class by jinxing through a swarm of Rayo players and emerging with the ball at his feet.
What a time to make your debut! The 17-year-old midfielder Isaac Gomez comes on for Rayo with five minutes left on the clock. Not a bad arena to make your first appearance in!
BRILLIANT ATTEMPT FROM PITI! The Rayo midfielder cuts on to his left and shoots from 30 yards, with Pinto having to parry the ball over the crossbar after backtracking on to his line.
Jordi Roura makes his third and final change of the evening as Cesc is replaced by Alex Song.
Barca appear to have cleared the ball to safety but it goes only as far as Trashorras. The visitors waste the chance to put a cross into the box though as Piti fouls Alba and concedes a free kick.
Rayo win a corner after Piti's cross is charged down by Alba.
A wave of Barcelona players flood forward in search of a fourth goal but Ruben is able to hold Alves' cross with Villa ready to pounce if he had spilled it.
The Barcelona striker is okay to continue though, after getting to his feet gingerly.
Villa is down clutching his ankle after being caught by Tito as he curled a shot at goal.
Alves lashes a shot just over from 20 yards! The ball fell to the Brazilian full-back on the edge of the Rayo penalty area after Messi had slipped and lost possession, and he fired a swerving effort inches over.
Messi wants a penalty after being dispossessed by a sliding tackle from Galvez inside the Rayo box, but he's not going to get one. That was a perfectly-timed challenge from the centre-back!
RUBEN DENIES MESSI A HAT-TRICK! The Rayo goalkeeper dives to his left to tip the 25-year-old's firm shot over the bar and out for a corner. Again that was brilliant interplay between Villa and Messi that led to the chance.
Goal Raúl Tamudo
RAYO PULL ONE BACK!! TAMUDO SCORES WITH HIS FIRST TOUCH!! The former Espanyol man smashes the ball past Pinto from close range after beating Pique to Luna's cross from the right. Tamudo will have enjoyed that one!
Yellow Card Rubén
Ahhhh, a replay shows that yellow card for Ruben was for him kicking the ball away as Barcelona waited to take a corner on the left.
And now Ruben has made his way into the referee's book! I don't know what that was for but the Rayo goalkeeper isn't complaining!
STAT: Messi has scored 42 goals in 28 Liga games this season, at an average of 1.5 goals per game. Astonishing figures there.
Thiago's first involvement is him being kicked in the calf by Trashorraas! What a nice welcome from the Rayo midfielder.
Iniesta is given a standing ovation by Camp Nou as he is withdrawn and replaced by Thiago. The midfielder was fantastic once again tonight.
Yellow Card Tito
That's a poor tackle from Tito on Mascherano! The Rayo right-back clumsily clatters into Mascherano right in front of the dugouts. The referee thinks that is deserving of a yellow card and I'm inclined to agree!
Before they can though Rayo make a substitution of their own, as Lass Bangoura replaces Adrian.
The home side appear to be making another change here...
Barca look like they might run up a score here! They have already gone clean through twice since Messi added that third goal. On the latest occasion it was only a fortunate deflection that stopped the ball from reaching Sanchez inside the Rayo box.
it was great play in the build-up by Villa too! The striker held off the challenge of Galvez before slipping a pass to his Messi. Those two have been sensational tonight!
Yellow Card Adrián González
Assist David Villa
Goal Lionel Messi
MAGICAL FROM MESSI!! Barcelona's top scorer nets his second of the evening after powering past Arbilla and dinking an effort over Ruben. What a superb touch that was to take it over the Rayo goalkeeper!
Trashorras curls the corner into the box and the ball glances off the head of Pique to Chori at the back post. The Rayo attacker was being challenged by Alba as he hit his effort first time and as a result it went straight into the side netting.
Corner to Rayo...
ALEXIS SHOOTS WIDE!! Barca come close to adding a third goal through their South American forward! The whole move has a very South American feel to it in fact as Messi drove forward before passing to Alves who then cut the ball back to Sanchez.
The defender brought the ball forward from the back before sending it out to Villa on the left. He then tried to cross the ball back to the former Manchester United man but Ruben was able to catch the pass ahead of the centre-back.
Pique is in the centre forward position...
NEARLY BEAUTIFUL FROM BARCA!! Alves plays Messi in on the right and the Ballon d'Or winner attempts to play it straight back with a back heel, only for Galvez to read the play and intercept the ball inside the Rayo box.
Chori shoots from long range again for Rayo but it is too close to Pinto and the Barcelona goalkeeper is able to dive on the ball and stop it finding the back of the net.
Alves clips the outside of the post with a shot from a tight angle on the right!
Alba is an absolute machine! Fresh from his sprinting exploits to add Barcelona's fourth against Milan in injury time on Tuesday, the left-back hurtles down the left wing past three tackles before cutting the ball inside to a team-mate.
Sanchez is sent tumbling by Piti in what is becoming a recurring theme of this game. Barca take the free kick short and pass the ball along their back line.
We are back underway at Camp Nou...
I've got to say it is great to see Villa back on form after that horrible leg break that kept him out for so long. He was brilliant against Milan during the week and he is putting in a fine performance again this evening.
@NiculiciCalin and @greg_lanre have informed me that Alves' questionable blonde hair is the result of a bet he made before the Milan victory during the week! Thanks for that guys!
HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 2-0 RAYO Lionel Messi extended his outrageous Liga goalscoring run with his goal which means he has now scored in 18 consecutive league games. His strike came shortly after David Villa had made it 1-0 to Barcelona with a crisp finish past Ruben following a pacy counter attack. The visitors started well but have faded as the game has worn on and Barcelona look fairly comfortable now with a two-goal lead at the break.
45' + 1'
The referee blows his whistle to mark the end of the first half! Barca have looked very good again tonight.
Just the one minute of added time at the end of this first half...
Villa slams a shot wide with his left foot from a tight angle inside the Rayo box. The effort is greeted by chants of "VIILLLLLA!! VIILLLLA!!" from the content Barcelona fans.
Barcelona have really turned this half round after Rayo made a decent start to the game. Both their goals have been of the highest quality too!
Rayo waste a corner on the left as Trashorras' cross fails to beat the first Barcelona defender at the near post.
Assist David Villa
Goal Lionel Messi
GREAT FINISH FROM MESSI!! 2-0 TO BARCA!! Villa returns the favour by setting Messi up for Barcelona's second goal. Iniesta lifted a super pass over the Rayo defence to Villa and he waited until Messi had made the overlapping run before slipping a pass through to him. Like Villa did for Barca's first, Messi took it first time, firing low past Ruben and into the far corner.
MARVELLOUS FROM MESSI! His boots served him well there! The attacker evaded two tackles brilliantly on the near touchline before being hacked to the floor by Piti. The Rayo man is already on a yellow card for an earlier foul so he needs to be careful!
Meanwhile, up the other end I'm not sure what's going on with Messi's footwear. The Argentina captain has lost his footing three of four times in this half. Maybe the wrong choice of boots.
Piti hammers a shot on target from 25 yards that Pinto deals with comfortably. Rayo have got the ball into good positions but they are yet to really make the Barcelona goalkeeper work so far tonight.
Delibasic and Chori link up well for Rayo but after moving the ball between them the latter cannot get a shot at goal under pressure from Mascherano and Gerard Pique.
STAT: Rayo are on a four-match winless run away from home in La Liga, losing three.
Alves looks like Dennis Rodman with his hair dyed blonde. What do you lot think of that choice of style? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @charliefscott. Cutting edge match coverage this.
Iniesta rides two attempts to scythe him down before curling a pass out to Alba on the left and the full-back wins a corner after flicking the ball off the legs of Tito.
Seconds after making a good tackle Arbilla then goes straight through the back of Messi on the halfway line.
Yellow Card Trashorras
Arbilla does well against Sanchez to dispossess the Barca attacker as he tries to drive into the Rayo box on the right-hand side.
Messi debunking those silly rumours that he and Villa despise one another by setting him up there. Case closed.
Assist Lionel Messi
Goal David Villa
GOALLLL!! VILLA MAKES IT 1-0 TO BARCA!! What a brilliant counter-attacking goal! Iniesta slipped the ball to Messi on the halfway line and the Argentine embarked on a blistering run to the edge of the Rayo box before squaring a pass to Villa. The Spain international hit the ball first-time past Ruben and into the top right corner.
Alves, incidentally, has dyed his hair peroxide blonde. It looks ridiculous!
Adriano appeared to take a knock when he dived to connect with Iniesta's fine pass a few minutes ago, which is why he is replaced by his Brazil team-mate midway through this first half.
Barcelona have been forced into making a change here. Adriano is replaced by Dani Alves.
CHORI TESTS PINTO FROM DISTANCE! The Rayo attacker lashes a shot at goal from 30 yards that causes the Barcelona goalkeeper to jump to his right and catch.
IRRESISTIBLE PLAY FROM INIESTA!! Barca's captain for the evening produces two moments of magic in the space of 15 seconds. First he slices the Rayo defence open with a pass to Jordi Alba, before then playing a wonderful chipped pass to Adriano at the back post that the Brazilian cannot quite divert towards goal.
A hefty challenge from Mascherano on Jose Carlos has sent the Rayo man flying and he needs a moment to collect himself here.
Messi swings the set piece towards the penalty spot but Ruben meets the cross before any Barcelona players can and punches the ball up field.
Yellow Card Piti
Alexis has made a bright start! The former Udinese man has looked dangerous and his latest contribution is to draw a foul from Piti which results in a free kick on the right for the Catalan giants.
Villa tries to get on the end of a high hopeful pass forward from Adriano but there is a bit too much zip on the ball and it bounces straight through to Ruben in the Rayo goal.
Don't forget guys and girls you can have your say on the game tonight by posting in the box to the right of this commentary, or by logging on to Twitter and sending your thoughts to @goal_intl or @charliefscott.
Nearly a quarter of an hour gone here and would you Adam-and-Eve it Rayo have completed more passes than Barcelona! The visitors have made 71 to Barca's 64.
That's good tracking back from Alexis! The Chilean helps Barcelona defensively by sprinting into the right-back position to hit the ball off the legs of Arbilla and win a throw-in.
It has been a blistering start to this game at Camp Nou. Both teams have had chances in one another's penalty area already.
SHOULD THAT BE A RAYO PENALTY? Piti goes down under a challenge from Javier Mascherano in the Barca box but the referee waves play on! If that's simulation then surely Piti should be booked? He isn't, and play continues.
MESSI HITS THE BAR!! The Argentine curls the free kick towards the top right corner but it cannons back off the crossbar and away to safety. That was a superb effort from the attacker!
Another free kick to Barcelona, in a much more dangerous position than the last one, bang central 20 yards from goal. This time Galvez is the Rayo player guilty of committing a foul.
BARCA NEARLY SCORE A BRILLIANT GOAL! Messi, of all people, is the man that lets the side down, as he loses his footing after being played in by Cesc Fabregas. In the build-up David Villa had played a crisp reverse pass through the Rayo defence to his team-mate inside the penalty area.
Messi flicks the free kick short to Adriano but the Brazilian's effort from distance with his left foot is high, wide and not at all handsome.
Barca win a free kick on the right after Anaitz Arbilla pulls back Sanchez...
The home side try and break through Alexis Sanchez but his pass towards Lionel Messi does not reach its intended target as Alejandro Galves nips in and steals the ball for Rayo.
STRONG START FROM THE VISITORS! Paco Jemez's side have already had a shot at goal from Chori Dominguez and won a corner in the opening minutes. Barcelona were not expecting that!
Rayo get the game started...
That host of children I mentioned earlier - they are the sons and daughters of the current Barcelona squad! Stars of the future perhaps!
The teams are in the tunnel and we are just minutes away from kick-off here. Brilliantly, Rayo's shirts are emblazoned with an Iron Man 3 advert ahead of the film's release on April 18. I like that ALOT.
A group of children wearing Messi 10 shirts are wandering about on the pitch at the moment. Not sure what that's in aid of but they look like they're having a whale of a time.
David Villa continues up front for Barcelona after he scored a fine goal against Milan, while Javier Mascherano replaces the injured Carlos Puyol at centre-back.
Subs: Cobeno, Amat, Martinez, Vazquez, Tamudo, Lass, Gomez
Rayo Vallecano (4-2-3-1): Ruben; Tito, Galvez, Figueras, Arbilla; Adrian, Trashorras; Carlos, Dominguez, Piti; Delibasic
Subs: Oier, Alves, Bartra, Song, Thiago, Pedro, Tello
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Adriano, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Cesc, Busquets, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Villa
I've got both starting XIs coming right up...
Barcelona are high on confidence going into this game, having overturned Milan's two-goal lead by dishing out a 4-0 thrashing to the Italian club in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday. Jordi Roura's side have won their previous nine Liga matches at Camp Nou, and will be looking to take that tally to double figures with a victory tonight.
My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be guiding you through this evening's entertainment over in Spain. If you want to get in touch at any point, feel free to do so by posting your comments in the box to the right or by logging on to Twitter and firing your thoughts to @charliefscott.
The Blaugrana are targetting their fifth straight win over Rayo, with the four previous meetings between the two sides producing an aggregate score of 19-0!
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of tonight's Liga clash at Camp Nou between top-of-the-table Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano.
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