Barça have moved one win and three points closer to the Liga title following a 3-1 victory against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday. But they did it the hard way, for the second time this season battling from behind against the same team to eventually claim victory.
It was the thirteenth time in a row that Barça have won a league fixture against the side with the famous red stripe, the team’s longest ever winning streak versus the same side.
And it was the ideal tonic to continue the winning spirit ahead of a crunch midweek game against Lyon in the Champions League (TICKETS HERE)
Barça had all the early play, but although Leo Messi, Nelson Semedo and Philippe Coutinho all had great chances, it was Rayo who found the net first. Raúl de Tomás, scorer of over three times more league goals than any other player in his team, was always going to be the biggest danger and there he was doing it again.
It was a superb finish that Ter Stegen could do nothing about, and the second-to-last side in La Liga had taken a shock lead at Camp Nou.
Barça kept pressing and were finally rewarded from a set-piece. Messi delivered the free kick (his 12th assist of the season) and Gerard Piqué came powering like a raging bull through to head home.
Shortly after the break, a penalty put Barça ahead. Jordi Amat tripped Semedo, and with his characteristic coolness, Messi slotted in from the spot to take his all-time goal count against Rayo into double figures.
With ten minutes left and Rayo refusing to throw in the towel, the three points were by no means secure. That was until a delightful one-two inside the opposition’s area led to Ivan Rakitic laying up a tap-in for Luis Suárez.
And that was game over. Barça could relax and start thinking about the next mission. And it’s a big one. Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.
Bring it on!