FC Barcelona stormed to victory against Rayo Vallecano with goals from Alexis (2), Villa and Messi, and have now scored 34 goals to no reply in home fixtures
FC Barcelona responded in perfect fashion to defeat at Getafe, by tearing Rayo Vallecano apart at the Camp Nou to keep their Liga campaign very much alive. Guardiola's side only needed 50 minutes to have the tie sewn up, in which time Alexis had scored a brace and Villa and Messi had added goals of their own. Barça are simply untouchable at the Camp Nou, where they were able to celebrate the stadium's 122nd anniversary with yet another win.
The victory against Rayo, in a game brought forward due to FCB's forthcoming trip to Japan, puts FC Barcelona back within three points of Real Madrid, who do have a game in hand.
Alexis breaks deadlock
Barça struggled to get into the game. The ball wasn't flowing as they would have liked, while Rayo were solid at the back and had a tough keeper to beat in Cobeño. The visitors also managed to create chances of their own on the counter attack, with Lass especially dangerous on the end of some rapid Rayo moves. Mascherano can in particular be thanked for some crucial interventions. But the whole panorama changed when Alexis, in one of his first interventions in the play, finally put the Catalans ahead with a pinpoint effort that bounced in off the crossbar.
Sorted before the break
With a one goal lead, Barcelona managed to settle into their usual style, and the passing was far more accurate and effective than before. In one of these delightful combination moves, Messi threaded a through ball to Xavi, who following an unusual piece of ball control, laid the ball on a plate to Alexis, who scored his second. Rayo were clearly stunned by this further setback, and practically straight from the restart, in which Alves was allowed a ridiculous amount of space in which to manoeuvre, Villa was supplied with the ball and converted with ease. It was not half time, but it looked like this game was already over.
Messi makes it four
But Barça were in no mood to rest on their laurels, and the second half was barely under way before Messi and Alves set off a powerful run down the right, with the former finishing the blistering move with his side's fourth goal of the night, finding his way past Javi Fuego with an amazing piece of skill. At 4-0, and with the home win now a certainty, the game lost in intensity and saw few chances created by either side
Guardiola made use of the final half hour to give some rest to Alexis, Xavi and Iniesta, who was fresh back from injury, to give a run out to three other key players in Cesc, Thiago and Adriano. Towards the end, Piqué was shown a yellow card, which means he will be suspended for the Levante game on Saturday.