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Deportivo La Coruña
April 29, 2012
• Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
• Attendance: 10000
L. Messi 16', 90'
Roberto Correa 26' (own goal)
S. Kéita 39'
Pedro 47', 87'
Thiago Alcântara 77'
FULL-TIME: Rayo Vallecano 0-7 Barcelona. The away side enjoyed themselves at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano despite their disappointing week leading up to the game. Messi and Pedro helped themselves to braces tonight, with an own goal from Rober, and further strikes from Keita and Thiago completing the scoring. Seven goals won't make up for going out of the Champions League and losing the Clasico match to Madrid last week, but the nature and efficiency of the performance will please their manager and fans. Rayo have now conceded the most goals in La Liga this season following the seven-goal battering they received tonight, and will no doubt have one eye looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone despite currently sitting in 15th place. Thanks for joining me for Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the match tonight. Good bye.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Michu
90' + 1'
The referee ends Rayo's torment, blowing the final whistle to signal the end of the game.
MESSI MAKES IT SEVEN!!! The Argentine finishes off a fine team move involving Pedro and Afellay, with a low hard left-footed finish into the back of the net. He is now tied with Cristiano Ronaldo on 43 goals in La Liga this season!
PEDROOOOOO!!!! Barcelona have six! Pedro grabs his second of the evening, controlling Messi's lobbed pass well before sidefooting past Cobeno in the Rayo goal.
Rayo are hurling the ball forward in the air in these final few minutes as they look to get a consolation goal, but Puyol and Mascherano are marshalling the Barcelona backline well to hold on to their cleansheet.
Raul Tamudo floats the set piece in, but Michu can only head over Pinto's crossbar under pressure from Carlos Puyol.
Brilliant tackle from Mascherano in the left-back position to steal the ball from Michu and put it out for a corner to the home side.
Cristian Tello comes on to replace Alexis Sanchez as Guardiola makes his final substitution. I'm sure the Rayo defence's tired legs will love that, one speedster replaced by another.
Barcelona have been comfortable this evening since overcoming a fairly unconvincing start to the match. They could well score a couple more in this one.
Assist Daniel Alves
Goal Thiago Alcántara
GOALLLLLL!!!! 5-0 TO BARCELONA!!!! Thiago makes it five for the away side, with a header that bounced into the ground and past Cobeno, after he was set up by a Dani Alves cross following some intricate work on the right by the substitute.
WHAT A PIECE OF CONTROL FROM THE RAYO BALLBOY!! Outstanding technique from the youngster on the side of the pitch to control Pinto's wayward goal-kick with his left foot. Sign that lad up!
And here comes Ibrahim Afellay, making only his third appearance of the season following his lengthy lay-off with a cruciate ligament injury. The Dutch attacker is given a warm welcome by the away fans. It's great to see him back on the pitch again.
PINTO PULLS OFF ANOTHER GREAT STOP!!!! Alhassane Bangoura cuts in from the left before firing what looks like an unstoppable shot towards the top right corner of Pinto's goal. The Barca keeper somehow gets across to tip it over though, as he continues to impress with his shot-stopping this evening.
Successive backheels from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves on the right indicate how the away side are enjoying themselves in this match, despite the week they have had. It's nice to see!
Dani Alves does well to get in behind the Rayo defence on the right-hand side and play an enticing cross across the six-yard box that Messi and Alexis are inches away from diverting into the back of the net.
A few of you are tweeting saying you believe the Barcelona players are putting on a show for their soon-to-be-departing manager, Pep Guardiola. I don't think you're wrong either, they have played some wonderful stuff at times this evening.
Don't forget guys, you can tweet me your thoughts on the game tonight to @charliefscott and I will copy the most entertaining and insightful messages I receive into this LIVE commentary!
That's a tight call from the linesman! Costa is adjudged be offside as he looks to run onto a forward pass from midfield. Replays show the official made the right decision!
That corner amounts to nothing though, as Barcelona continue to struggle from set pieces in this match. No doubt they will go on and score from a corner and a free-kick now...
Pinball on the edge of the Rayo box as Messi looks to score a second. The ball eventually flies off the shin of Pulido and out for a corner over Cobeno's crossbar!
Barcelona continue to throw men forward, and win a corner hot on the heels of that Messi free-kick. All the play is in Rayo's half here as we approach the hour mark.
Messi hits the wall again though, but the ball is not cleared effectively, with Pedro eventually gets a shot away, but his effort is dragged very very wide.
Barcelona have a free-kick on the right...
Yellow Card Pedro
VERY NEARLY A FIFTH GOAL FOR BARCELONA!! The ball falls to Thiago 16 yards out but his stroked effort goes a yard the wrong side of Cobeno's post. Or the right side, if you're the goalkeeper. The Barcelona youngster should have scored there.
Pinto has made some good saves tonight, but his play with his feet is just not really up to Barcelona standards. He has looked dodgy as anything every time the ball has been passed back to him so far in this match!
That Pedro strike is Barcelona's 101st goal of the season in La Liga!
GOOALLLL!!!! No sooner do I compliment their goalscoring record this season, and they add another!! Pedro this time! Alexis is the architect, racing down the left before crossing towards Messi. The Argentine flicks an effort goalwards that crashes off the crossbar and into the path of Pedro, who has the simplest of finishes on the volley from close range. 4-0 to the visitors.
Barcelona have scored at least three goals for the 29th time this season. Wow.
We are back underway for the second half...
HALF-TIME: Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Barcelona. The away side have put on quite a show in the first half here at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano, storming to a three goal lead courtesy of Messi, a Rober own goal, and a neat Keita finish. The Argentine has been in superb form in the opening half, mixing some wonderful dribbling with some incisive passing and impressive shots on goal. Rayo have struggled to match their illustrious opponents, and have been limited to just a couple of chances so far, Trashorras having a fine free-kick tipped round the post by Pinto, and a Diego Costa header also saved. Judging by Barcelona's performance in this first half it doesn't look like Madrid will be winning the title this weekend! Join me in ten minutes for the second half of this exciting match.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Arribas
45' + 2'
And there is the whistle that brings the opening half to a close.
45' + 1'
The referee has signalled for two minutes of added time at the end of the first half here at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano.
Messi curls an effort wide with his left foot after cutting in from the right. This is the best I've seen him play in a while, in fact, it's the best I've seen Barcelona play as a team in a while.
Montoya very nearly gets in on the right for Barcelona but Ismael recovers well to put the ball out for a throw-in to the away side. Barcelona were queuing up in the centre waiting for a cross had Montoya got past Ismael there.
The away side are cutting through Rayo at will here, with Messi in particular looking like he means business. I reckon he might just have one eye on the Pichichi award for the league's top goalscorer. He is just one behind Cristiano Ronaldo following his early strike tonight.
Goal Seydou Keita
MESSI IS TURNING THE STYLE ON TONIGHT!!! That is a world class assist from the little guy. He dances past three challenges on the edge of the box before slotting a perfect pass between three defenders to Seydou Keita. Messi has done all the hard work, leaving Keita the easy task of slotting low past Cobeno from close range. Brilliant stuff from Barcelona.
Lovely stuff from Barcelona on the right wing. Pedro plays Messi in with a delightful little back-heel before Messi is eventually dispossessed by Ismael.
Yellow Card Tito
AWFUL EFFORT BY MICHU!! The ball falls to the attacker in space inside the area on the left and he has time to take a first touch but chooses not to, and will not doubt rue that decision in hindsight, as his first-time volleyed effort goes horribly wide of Pinto's goal.
ANOTHER FINE SAVE FROM PINTO!!! Trashorras sends the free-kick flying towards the top-left corner but Pinto is there to tip the ball round the post brilliantly.
Free-kick to Rayo 25 yards from goal. This is a shooting chance for the home side...
The young Rayo full-back Rober, who collided with the post when trying to stop Barcelona's second goal, has been withdrawn through injury. Poor lad.
Nearly a third for Barcelona!!! Adriano dissects the Rayo defence with a fine first-time pass from the left, but Messi has timed his run slightly too early and is pulled back for offside as he looks to get on the end of the cross.
Assist Alexis Sánchez
Own Goal Roberto Correa
GOALLLLL TO BARCELONA!!!!! A SHOT FROM AN ACUTE ANGLE BY ALEXIS IS DEFLECTED IN BY ROBER!! The Chilean striker is sent clean through by Keita, he then dribbles past Cobeno before sending the ball towards goal from an extremely tight angle. The Rayo defender Rober attempted to stop the ball from crossing the line but only helped it on its way into the back of the net, injuring himself on the post in the process.
FINE TACKLE FROM PULIDO!! A good move from Messi and Sanchez down the left results in the former crossing towards the latter at the near post, and it would probably have been 2-0 but for a brilliant saving tackle from Pulido.
The wall does its job though, as Messi's effort from the set piece is deflected over for a corner kick to the visitors.
Yellow Card Roberto Correa
Barca have a free-kick 25 yards from goal...
That goal from Messi, his 64th in all competitions, means he has accounted for 37% of Barcelona's goals this season!
GREAT SAVE FROM PINTO!! Up the other end Rayo nearly equalise immediately through Diego Costa. A free-kick from deep is lofted to the back post where Costa gets the slightest of touches to divert the ball goalwards. Pinto is alert though and dives to his left to push the ball away from goal.
THAT IS A MARVELLOUS TEAM GOAL FROM BARCELONA!!! Messi grabs his 42nd league goal of the season!! A fine move culminates in Alexis Sanchez curling a pass out to Pedro on the right side of the penalty area, he then weights a perfect pass into the path of Messi at the back post, who sidefoots into the empty net. Great play!
Mascherano is fortunate to win a free-kick inside his own penalty area for Barcelona. The Argentine utility man dispossesses Diego Costa well but then throws himself to the floor after little contact from the Rayo striker, yet the referee deems it is a foul, and awards Barcelona a free-kick.
Despite their slow start to this match you would expect Barcelona to score a few goals tonight, with only Sporting Gijon (64) conceding more goals in La Liga this term than Rayo (60).
Diego Costa looks in trouble for Rayo early on here, perhaps due to a knock he picked up from that Busquets challenge that he and his team-mates thought should have resulted in a penalty. Let's hope he's alright down there on the touchline.
Don't forget guys, you can get in touch with me throughout this match by sending your thoughts and views to @charliefscott on Twitter. I would love to hear from as many of you as possible!
Pedro plays a nice one-two with Busquets but nobody is on the end of his flicked cross into the centre of the Rayo penalty area, and Pulido is on hand to sweep up the danger and clear the ball away.
Barcelona beat Rayo 4-0 in their previous match this season, if they continue how they've started tonight, that scoreline may be quite a way from being repeated!
Barcelona's defence are all over the place for a second there, Pinto selling Busquets short with a pass from the back that forces the midfielder into making a fantastic last-ditch challenge on Diego Costa. The home side are appealing for a penalty but that was just a brilliant tackle.
The camera has just panned to the stands and there is a man standing proudly in a black and white chequered onesie. I'm not sure what that is in aid of but fair play to him, it's a brave look.
Some neat touches from Sergio Busquets in the centre of the park keep the ball away from Rayo's midfielders, as Barcelona start the game brightly.
The match has kicked off a couple of minutes behind schedule but we are finally underway here at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano.
Unsurprisingly in the moments before kick-off there is a lot of focus from the Spanish media at the ground on Pep Guardiola as he takes his seat on the Barcelona bench. What a servant to the club he has been, both as a player and manager.
We are just minutes from getting underway here as the teams make their way out onto the pitch.
BARCELONA TEAM NEWS: Pep Guardiola has chosen to give some of his squad players are chance to impress tonight. 20-year-old defender Martin Montoya starts at right-back in what will be his fourth appearance in the Spanish Primera Division this season, while Jose Pinto is also given a rare start in the Barca goal with Victor Valdes named as a substitute. The midfield trio of the visitors is made up of Seydou Keita, Thiago, and Sergio Busquets with Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas having to settle for a place on the bench. Xavi misses the match after picking up a calf problem.
RAYO TEAM NEWS: Jose Ramon Sandoval names a positive line-up with both Diego Costa and Raul Tamudo starting up front. Mikel Labaka and Jose Manuel Casado are suspended for the match and are replaced in the Rayo defence by Alejandro Arribas and Jorge Pulido.
Substitutes: Valdes, Alves, Iniesta, Bartra, Tello, Cesc, Afellay
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Montoya, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Keita, Thiago; Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Pedro
Subs: Robles, Michel, Benito, Diamanka, Delibasic, Pacheco
Rayo Vallecano (4-4-2): Cobeno; Tito, Arribas, Pulido, Ismael; Rober, Movilla, Trashorras, Michu; Tamudo, Diego Costa
Here are the starting XIs for the match:
Should Barcelona lose tonight, Real Madrid will be crowned champions of La Liga. I can't help but feel they are not going to be too pleased should that happen. With the news that Pep Guardiola will step down at the end of the season, the last four games in La Liga act as a farewell to the manager who has achieved so much at the club in the last four years. His players will no doubt want to ensure they give him something to smile about over the course of the last few weeks of his reign. Starting tonight.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Rayo Vallecano and Barcelona's La Liga clash at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano. My name's Charlie Scott and I will be bringing you detailed minute-by-minute commentary of this match as it unfolds. Feel free to tweet me any questions or views you may have on the game, by sending your messages to @charliefscott. I will try and get the best tweets copied into this commentary!
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