Game over. Barcelona win 4-0 over Rayo Vallecano. A brace from Alexis, alongside goals from Messi and Villa send the Catalans to a thumping win.
Couple minutes remaining in this one. The victory will put Barca within three points of Real Madrid, though the capital club will have played one less contest.
Constant possession in the attacking half for Barca as Pique falls inside the box, looking for a penalty. He was alone on goal and took a touch past the goalkeeper, but the ref was not falling for it.
Yellow Card Piqué
Dani Alves' presents continue, giving the ball away yet again inside the box with a poor cross.
Yellow Card Víctor Valdés
Offside after a long shot from Michu is saved well by Valdes, who is then hit in the head by Tamudo's knee as they both fought the rebound. The attacker was ruled off
Lovely play down the right side between Alves and Adriano results in a shot from Messi from the left side the box, and his low effort flies by the right post!
Nice praise for the Chilean as he exits. Now there is just over 15 minutes left as Rayo will soon be put out of its misery.
Substitution Alexis Sánchez Adriano
Alexis comes off for Adriano. Another note, Messi's goal ties him for the league lead with Cristiano Ronaldo at 16.
Substitution Lass Piti
Nearly the second for Villa! The attacker does well to fight off Botelho on a long ball, lobbing a shot over an oncoming Cobeno, but the ball flies over the goal.
Around 25 minutes left and this one is all but over. An impressive response by Barca against a talented Rayo team. Don't think they are done scoring however. The visitors are playing with four attackers high, lots of space to cause some damage.
When Dani Alves was unselfish on Villa's goal, that was more than fun, and a smart play. What he just did, well, that wasn't. Messi sends the Brazilian through on the right side, and instead of firing on goal, he looks for a return pass to the Argentine in the congested box. Umm...What was that?
Penalty! Is it? No, no call! Villa is 'taken down' in the box by Arribas. No call as play continues.
Yellow Card Arribas
Lovely chance for Rayo as veteran Tamudo nearly puts home a powerful volley from inside the box, but the effort flies wide of the post by a slim margin. Wouldn't have made much of a difference with the contest already out of hand.
Substitution Andrés Iniesta Luján Cesc Fàbregas
Substitution Xavi Thiago Alcántara
Substitution Javi Fuego Rafa García
Sub coming on as Iniesta is sacrificed in favor of Fabregas.
Interesting note: A clean sheet tonight would for Barcelona would make it the first team to keep 11 consecutive clean sheets at home in La Liga history.
Assist Daniel Alves
Goal Lionel Messi
GOAL BARCA! 4-0! Messi gets his name on the board with a solo effort down the left side after a pass from Alves, beating a defender to invade the back, finishing low past Cobeno from a tight angle.
Fabregas is warming up on the side, looking set to make an appearance. Nothing too eventful in the early moments of the second half, aside from Dani Alves taking a hard hit.
Substitution Míchel Raúl Tamudo
Here we go! The second half has started.
That's the end of the half as any hope of grabbing points has surely vanished for Rayo, unless they can pull a Liverpool-like comeback to secure a point. Unlikely against Barca, which hasn't conceded a goal at home in seven and a half league games, totaling 675 minutes.
Yellow Card Jordi Figueras
Assist Daniel Alves
Goal David Villa
GOAL VILLA! 3-0! Pique makes a run nearly into the box, rather sending Dani Alves through alone with Villa, and the Brazilian decided not to be selfish, playing the ball softly to the former Valencia man, who finishes with a low effort as the Rayo defense was caught off-guard.
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOLA! Alexis again! Messi looks to split two defenders as Xavi marches on goal, but the ball hits the veteran midfielder, flying up and finding Alexis at the left side of the box, and as he ran on goal, the winger touched the ball into the right side of the net.
Yellow Card Lass
Great ball movement by Barcelona. Rayo don't know what they are doing in the middle of the pitch. They look lost, chasing after the ball.
Interesting to see that Guardiola moved Alexis to the left from the right. Paid off quickly with the goal. Looks a lot more comfortable on that side. The Chilean is moving well, but he is not trying to take on the entire defense by himself, rather playing back as Barca set up the attack.
Iniesta is slow to get up after receiving a foot plant on his ankle. Looked bad, but he is back up and ready to go.
Nearly the second as Messi, at the left side of the box, tries to squeeze one in, hitting the outside of the goal. He had plenty of space while running, surprising he didn't cut it back.
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOAL BARCELONA!!! ALEXIS FINDS THE NET! The Chilean star scores a gorgeous goal from inside the box on the left. Xavi played the ball to the former Udinese star, who aimed at goal before cutting inside, curving a shot off the right post and in to beat a diving Cobeno.
Iniesta!!! The talented midfielder tries from outside the box, but his powerful effort flies over the goal.
The importance of this game can't be overstated. Barca is six points back of Real Madrid for first place, and a draw or loss could allow the capital club to extend its lead at the top. For Rayo, which sits in 10th with16 points, a win would push it closer to a Europa League classification spot.
Foul by Abidal. Free kick for Rayo from the right side is sent in towards the back post, but Valdes knocks it over the goal, though it touched the crossbar first. On the corner, Barca clears the threat.
Free kick for Rayo in the attack half. A long cross from Javi Fuego flies right into the hands of Valdes. No danger at all as we await the game's first goal.
OH MY! Nearly the opener by Dani Alves after the Brazilian was sent through into the box by Alexis, but the former Sevilla man's shot from the right side to the back post is pushed out by Cobeno.
Barca doesn't look too confident on the ball and off, turning it over time and time again, while failing to close down well. Rayo has a lot of space down the right side of the pitch, but is failing to use it. Neither team at their best.
Corner to Barca as Rayo clear out a Messi pass. On the ensuing kick, A short corner results in nothing as the visitors gain possession.
Solid early effort from Rayo in the opening 10 minutes, who look like the Peru national team with their shirts. The visitors are playing quality passes and attacking with numbers. Remember, they gave Valencia all they could handle, nearly tying the game at the death as Unai Emery's men were on their heels.
Alexis, what was that? Messi darts down the middle and plays a ball to the Chilean on the right, and the winger looked for David Villa at the back post, ultimately finding nobody with a poor, powerful effort that lacked precision as it flew out of bounds.
Lots of early action here as Mascherano can't get a head to a cross, and Lass nearly punishes Valdes, but his effort flies wide of the goal in an attempted volley.
NEARLY A STUNNER! Iniesta steals the ball in midfield, then volley's a long-range effort that was close to catching Cobeno off-guard, but the goalkeeper did well to push it wide!
Early chance from Javi Fuego, who fires on goal after Keita's touch finds the midfielder at the top of the box, but the Spaniard's effort flies over the goal.
Here we go!
For Rayo: Cobeno; Botelho, Arribas, Jordi, Casado; Fuego, Movilla; Michu, Michel, Lass; Tamudo
The starting XI for Barca: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Iniesta, Keita; Sanchez, Messi, Villa
Hello all, welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of today's La Liga match between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed