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November 29, 2011
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Miguel Pérez Lasa
• Attendance: 75000
A. Sánchez 29', 41'
David Villa 44'
L. Messi 49'
That's it from Camp Nou. Barcelona 4-0 Rayo Vallecano. A much-needed win for Guardiola's men, who bounce back from the loss to Getafe. For the visitors, it's consecutive defeats as they remain mid-table with 16 points. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and it's been a pleasure. Be sure to stick with Goal.com for the match report and player ratings. Have a good one.
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.
Dani Alves' presents continue, giving the ball away yet again inside the box with a poor cross. He must be craving assists.
Little under 10 minutes remaining in this one as Barca go for more.
Yellow CardVíctor 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 their misery.
Alexis comes off for Adriano. Another note, Messi's goal ties him for the league lead with Cristiano Ronaldo at 16.
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.
Barca on the counter here...
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.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Sub coming on as Iniesta is sacrificed in favour of Fabregas.
Kishanth Raj on Twitter writes: Hopes for a second-half hat-trick from Messi. (A third of the way there friend).
Interesting note: A clean sheet tonight would for Barcelona would make them the first team to keep 11 consecutive clean sheets at home in La Liga history.
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.
Here we go! The second half has started.
The team's are on their way out for the second half. Can Barca pile it on?
Interesting end to the first half as Barca really turned on the jets, with Alexis bagging a brace before Villa found the net. We will be back with the second half shortly. Send your final predictions on Twitter to @RCGonzalez10
Yellow CardJordi Figueras
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, who haven't conceded a goal at home in seven and a half league games, totaling 675 minutes.
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 defence was caught off-guard.
GOL! 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.
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 defence by himself, rather playing back as Barca set up their 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 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.
Barca looking to go on the counter. Left side completely open.
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 stated. Barca are six points back of Real Madrid for first place, and a draw or loss could allow the capital club to extend their lead at the top. For Rayo, who sit in 10th with 16 points, a win would push them 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 clear 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 don't look too confident on the ball and off, turning it over time and time again, while failing to close down well. Rayo have a lot of space down the right side of the pitch, but are 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.
Remember to send your comments and predictions on Twitter to @RCGonzalez10
Lot's 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 volleys 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!
The players are on the pitch for the introduction. The match is set to begin.
Interesting stat entering the contest: Pep Guardiola's men have played seven league contest at home this term, winning six, while drawing one. But, in those matches, last year's Champions League winners have 30 goals scored and zero conceded.
For Rayo: Cobeno; Labaka, Arribas, Jordi, Casado; Fuego, Movilla; Michu, Michel, Botelho; Lass
The starting XI for Barca: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Iniesta, Keita; Sanchez, Messi, Villa
As always, you can get involved on Twitter. Send predictions, thoughts and comments to @RCGonzalez10
This match was moved up ahead of Barcelona's participation in the Club World Cup, so enjoy your Tuesday with an interesting clash. Interesting storyline heading into the game as both clubs enter this match coming off losses. The home side shockingly fell to Getafe last time out, while Rayo fell to Valencia.
Welcome all to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of La Liga action. Today's encounter is between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and I'll be providing updates from the game.
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