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October 27, 2012
• Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
Referee: Miguel Pérez Lasa
• Attendance: 15500
David Villa 20'
L. Messi 48', 89'
That's all from me for tonight guys. Thanks for joining me. Good night!
FULL-TIME: RAYO VALLECANO 0-5 BARCELONA A late flurry of goals added gloss to Barcelona's performance as they produced a fine second-half display to see off the challenge of Paco Jemez's men. Lionel Messi scored two for the visitors, while further goals from David Villa, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas completed the five-goal rout. Barcelona move three points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga for the time being, with the capital-based side set to face Getafe tomorrow.
90' + 2'
The referee blows his whistle to mark the end of this match!
90' + 1'
By the looks of it, no! Alexis has a chance to increase his side's lead further but instead fires straight into the midriff of the Rayo goalkeeper Ruben.
The fourth official signals for two minutes of added time. Have Barcelona got time for a sixth?
MESSI SCORES HIS SECOND TO MAKE IT 5-0!! The diminutive No. 10 races on to a looping pass from Fabregas before jinxing past Ruben and firing the ball into the empty net. That is his 301st professional career goal!
Barcelona are keeping the ball very well in the closing stages here and may even increase their lead with Pedro in particular looking dangerous attacking the tired Casado.
Pedro races away from Casado on the right after a quickly-taken free-kick from Busquets but the Barcelona attacker is forced back after Rodri comes across to help out his left-back and Barcelona must start the attack from scratch on the halfway line.
Jonathan Dos Santos
Tito Vilanova is giving some of the younger members of his squad a run out in the closing minutes here as he brings on Jonathan Dos Santos and Marc Bartra for Jordi Alba and Xavi.
Rayo haven't done too well since switching to three at the back 15 minutes ago...
FABREGAS GRABS A FOURTH FOR BARCELONA!! The in-form attacker forces the ball past Ruben from close range after being found inside the penalty area by a searching cross from the right-hand side by Pedro.
XAVI MAKES IT 3-0!! Barcelona increase their lead courtesy of a well-struck finish from Xavi following a fine cross from Jordi Alba on the left. Xavi opened his body up brilliantly to slide the shot past Ruben and into the bottom corner with his right foot. That was fabulous technique from the midfielder.
CHANCE FOR RODRI!! The centre-back fires a shot over from a tight angle after a set piece had been lofted towards the back post from a deep position on the right.
RAYO HAVE HAD A MAN SENT OFF!! THEIR MANAGER!! Paco Jemez is sent to the stands by the referee after exchanging angry words with the fourth official.
Rayo make their third and final change of the evening as they bring on Franco Vazquez for Leo Baptistao in midfield.
Adriano and Busquets have done well at centre-back tonight, the former in particular has been pretty much flawless in his decision-making and the timing of his challenges.
GREAT STOP BY RUBEN!! Messi is finally allowed to take the set piece and very nearly increases his side's lead to three. Ruben does superbly to catch the Argentine's curling effort with the ball seemingly destined for the top-left corner. Brilliant goalkeeping!
Yellow CardAlejandro Domínguez
AND ANOTHER!! Chori Dominguez gets a yellow card for arguing with the referee...
Yellow CardJordi Amat
ANOTHER YELLOW CARD!! Amat is in Perez's notebook now after catching Messi from behind 30 yards from goal. That was a horrible challenge, and the booking means he will miss Rayo's next fixture.
That's a wasted pass from Alexis!! The attacker hasn't started well since coming off the bench. As Barcelona look to counter following a Rayo attack the former Udinese man plays a ball out to an open space on the left with Messi wanting the ball played towards the right-hand side.
Rayo are set to make another attacking change as Nicki Bille comes on for the left-back Casado, which suggests the home side will be switching to a back three for the remaining 20 minutes or so.
Alexis is flagged offside for the visitors. It's been three minutes since he was introduced, that's quite a long time to stay onside by the Chile international's standards. He is a serial offside offender.
MESSI CHIPS A SHOT WIDE!! A horrible pass from Jose Caros towards Amat runs straight into the path of Messi and he wastes no time in charging into the Rayo box and chipping a shot towards goal. His shot beats Ruben but fails to land the right side of the right-hand post.
Off goes one of Barcelona's goalscorers, David Villa, as Alexis Sanchez is introduced for the Catalan side.
The ball bobbles into the path of Javi Fuego after the substitute Lass causes a nuisance inside the Barcelona penalty area and the midfielder forces Valdes into another save with a forceful effort from 15 yards. Rayo aren't afraid to shoot tonight, they have had 11 shots already.
A good challenge from Jordi Alba stops Tito in his tracks on the right for Rayo, but the home side soon win the ball back and look to work the ball into the Barcelona box.
Casado brings the ball forward from left-back for Rayo before switching the ball to Jose Carlos on the right. He plays the ball into Leo Baptistao but the Brazilian is dispossessed by a smart tackle from Busquets.
The home side make their first change of the evening as Lass comes on to replace Piti.
Barcelona are keeping the ball far better in this second half than they did in the first, with Rayo struggling to get a touch at the moment.
OPTIMISTIC FROM AMAT!! The Rayo centre-back elects to try his luck from about 45 yards with Valdes slightly off his line, but his driven shot drifts harmlessly wide of the Barcelona goalkeeper's left-hand post.
Messi's goal tonight, his 12th in 9 Liga matches this season, means he has now scored more than the whole Rayo squad in the current campaign.
An enticing cross from Pedro on the right wing bounces just ahead of Villa as he runs into the penalty area as Barcelona continue their impressive start to the second half here.
Delibasic looks to play a one-two with Piti but Adriano reads the play well to intercept the ball before it can be returned to the striker to kill the attack and regain possession for Barcelona.
GOOD SAVE FROM VALDES!! Chori Dominguez chips the ball into the area from the set piece but is cleared straight into the path of Javi Fuego who fires a fizzing low shot towards the bottom left-hand corner that Valdes does well to tip round the post for a Rayo corner.
Rayo have a free-kick 30 yards out and a chance to pull a goal back immediately after going two down...
That last post? Maybe ignore that... MESSI HAS INCREASED BARCELONA'S LEAD WITH A THUMPING STRIKE!! Martin Montoya does brilliantly to overlap on the right-hand side before cutting a pass back to the waiting Messi who hammered the ball past Ruben from 18 yards to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
That was a pretty un-Barcelona first-half from Barcelona. They didn't really dominate possession, and whereas they normally dictate the tempo of the game it was fairly end-to-end stuff, albeit with few clear goalscoring chances. Rayo are up for it tonight, and if they carry on the way they are playing, they will trouble that makeshift Barcelona back line.
We are back underway for the second half here at the Estadio de Vallecas...
Join me in 10 minutes for the second half of this match, as Barcelona look to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to three points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid's game against Getafe tomorrow.
HALF-TIME: RAYO VALLECANO 0-1 BARCELONA David Villa's calmly-taken goal for Barcelona in the 20th minute is enough to separate the two sides at the break, with both teams struggling to test the two goalkeepers on show this evening. Andrija Delibasic wasted the home side's best chance late in the half when he shot straight at Victor Valdes, while Cesc Fabregas missed a similar opportunity for Tito Vilanova's men a few minutes before.
45' + 1'
And there we go, bang on the 46-minute mark, Miguel Perez blows his whistle to mark the end of the first half.
The fourth official signals for one minute of added time at the end of the first half.
DELIBASIC SHOOTS STRAIGHT AT VALDES!! The Rayo striker has a chance to equalise for his side from the edge of the penalty area after finding himself one-on-one with Victor Valdes, but his strike is far too central and is gathered easily by the Barcelona goalkeeper.
The Rayo right-back Tito is down clutching his face after an exchange with David Villa with a replay showing that the Barcelona attacker caught the defender with an arm there as he jumped to challenge for the ball. Naughty boy!
Delibasic bundles his way towards Valdes' goal and the ball eventually falls at the feet of his strike partner Leo Baptistao. The Brazilian hits a snapshot effort towards goal, but it deflects off his own team-mate Piti and flies out for a Barcelona goal-kick.
David Villa is flagged offside for the visitors as they go in search of a second goal before half-time. On this occasion the linesman gets the decision right. He has been hit-and-miss so far!
Chori Dominguez wins the ball in midfield for the home side before sending a hopeful high pass towards Delibasis, but the pass is far too optimistic and is easily dealt with by Adriano for Barcelona.
Yellow CardJosé Carlos
The referee has shown another yellow card here, as Jose Carlos makes his way into Miguel Perez's book for a late tackle on Jordi Alba. Rayo are racking up the yellows here!
Messi tries to thread a pass through to Fabregas as the former Arsenal man races into the Rayo box but the Barcelona No. 10's touch is heavy and the ball is picked up by Ruben.
Javi Fuego keeps the ball well from Song in midfield before spraying a pass out to Jose Carlos on the right. Carlos drives down the right before chipping a cross towards Piti, but his effort is wayward and results in a goal-kick for the away side.
MESSI CURLS THE FREE-KICK JUST WIDE!! The Argentine forward whips the ball towards the far corner with his left foot but the ball flies a yard or so the wrong side of Ruben's right-hand post and the score remains 1-0 for the time being.
Piti slips into Pedro on the right, and Barcelona have a free-kick in a promising position to the right of the Rayo penalty area.
Barcelona are working the ball towards the edge of the Rayo penalty area but are finding themselves up against a wall of white shirts as the home side commit numbers back.
Pedro gets his head to the corner from Messi, but only nods it further away from goal and it eventually slides out for a throw-in to Rayo on the far side despite Villa's best efforts to keep the ball in play.
Barcelona have another corner on the left, with Messi shuffling over to take the set piece.
A poor back-pass from Rodri is intercepted by Messi, who slips the ball to Xavi before it is then passed on to Fabregas inside the Rayo box on the right-hand side. The attacker's shot is saved by Ruben and loops up into the air but is then cleared away by Casado.
SMART STOP FROM RUBEN!! The Rayo goalkeeper saves well from Xavi down low to his right after the Barcelona midfielder had drilled a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Yellow CardAndrija Delibasic
Valdes isn't looking too comfortable dealing with back-passes tonight, and to be fair to the Barcelona goalkeeper the pitch at the Estadio de Vallecas does look in a fairly awful state.
A long ball from Ruben nearly finds Delibasic on the edge of the Barcelona box, but play is stopped after the attacker controls the ball with his arm. The referee goes straight to his pocket and flourishes a yellow card at the striker for his misdemeanour.
Fabregas' assist to Villa there was his 6th in La Liga this season, the same number he managed in the whole of the last campaign!
There have been rumours in the Catalan press that Villa may be on his way out of Barcelona in the near future. He's certainly taking the opportunity to prove his worth tonight. That was a cool, calm finish from the Spain international.
DAVID VILLA OPENS THE SCORING!!! 1-0 TO BARCELONA!! The striker strokes a confident finish past Ruben after evading the attentions of Rodri and latching on to Fabregas' well-weighted through ball. Barcelona take the lead with one of their first attacks of the game!
The home side are showing great intensity to hassle Barcelona's players when they are in possession at the moment, and their fans are encouraging them vociferously as they do so.
Alot of you on the Twitter machine are predicting a comfortable win for Tito Vilanova's side tonight. It's been a fairly cagey opening 17 minutes, but it is early on, and we all know how Barcelona like to score a goal or two...
And now Barcelona have a corner of their own. Xavi works it short to Messi, and the ball is eventually lifted over the top of the Rayo defence towards Fabregas. A piece of robust defending from Casado ends the attack and sends Fabregas crashing to the turf though, as the ball is shepherded through to the goalkeeper Ruben.
David Villa is caught in possession five yards outside his own penalty area (yeh, you read that right), and Rayo nearly fashion a shooting opportunity only for Fabregas to win the ball back with a crunching challenge on Baptistao.
Barcelona are on the back foot here, which makes a stark change to their last visit in the league, when they won 7-0 towards the end of last season.
Piti does well to drift past Alba and curl a cross in from the left for the home side but Adriano gets ahead of Delibasic to nod the ball away to safety.
Rayo have won three corners already in the opening 10 minutes, and with Barcelona looking susceptible to set pieces in recent weeks it appears the home side may be targeting that.
Rayo have a decent shout for a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area turned down by the referee after Cesc Fabregas clatters into the back of Leo Baptistao.
The Rayo goalkeeper Ruben rushes a clearance and it very nearly falls straight at the feet of David Villa. Fortunately for the man between the sticks Javi Fuego is there to salvage possession and clear the ball upfield for the home side!
Slightly odd to see Marc Bartra on the bench tonight for Barcelona, what with their current central defensive crisis. Bartra looked very good against Celtic in the Champions League midweek but misses out for this match, with Adriano and Song/Busquets playing at centre-back this evening.
Yellow CardJordi Alba
Jordi Alba is the fist player into Miguel Perez's book after crashing into the back of Jose Carlos near the halfway line. That was not a pretty challenge from the full-back, and fully deserved the yellow card.
Rayo win a free-kick in a defensive position after David Villa is adjudged to be offside by the linesman on the far side. I'm not sure about that one, he looked comfortably onside!
Early signs that Sergio Busquets is sitting in alongside Adriano at centre-back rather than Alex Song as was reported before the match. Certainly one to keep an eye on, with Busquets the more-accomplished player in that role having been at the club for much longer than Song.
The corner amounts to nothing though, as Javi Fuego's shot from the edge of the box drags wide of Valdes' right-hand post and out for a Barcelona goal-kick.
Rayo get the match underway and immediately look to pump the ball long to Leo Baptistao who puts enough pressure on Victor Valdes to win a corner.
Rayo haven't kept a clean sheet in five games, and Lionel Messi has so far scored as many as the whole Rayo team in La Liga this season. Throw in that makeshift Barcelona defence and I don't know about all of you but I smell goals...
The teams are in the tunnel here at the Estadio de Vallecas which means we are just a few minutes from kick-off!
So Barcelona's defence this evening consists of a young right-back, a central midfielder and two left-backs. What could possibly go wrong?
Subs: Pinto, Alves, Bartra, Dos Santos, Iniesta, Tello, Alexis
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Montoya, Song, Adriano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Cesc; Pedro, Messi, Villa
Subs: Dani, Galvez, Gonzalez, Trashorras, Vazquez, Bille, Lass
Rayo (4-3-1-2): Ruben; Tito, Rodri, Amat, Casado; Javi Fuego, Leo, Chori; Jose Carlos; Delibasic, Piti
That's the end of the history lesson, now for some team news...
Right, let's get going then. It's been 10 years since Barcelona last lost a Liga match away to Rayo. The score on December 7th 2002 was 1-0 to the home side, and the Blaugrana's captain this evening, Xavi, was one of the players who tasted the bitterness of defeat that night.
My name is Charlie Scott and I will be bringing you colourful updates from the game in Madrid as it unfolds this evening. As always, feel free to get in touch with me at any point in the match by hurling your views over to @charliefscott.
Good evening one and all and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of tonight's Liga clash between Rayo Vallecano and Barcelona at the Estadio de Vallecas.
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