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Barça made it five wins out of five with an impressive win at Rayo this evening thanks to a Pedro hat trick and another brilliant performance from Víctor Valdés, who stopped his second penalty in two games when the scores were just 0-1.
The win gives Tata Martino’s side 15 points from a possible 15 so far this season.
It was an even enough first half, with Rayo making some good early chances – only to come up against the in-form Victor Valdes, who made his first great stop of the night after just three minutes from a Perea header. Immediately after that, Messi beat two defenders and rounded the keeper, only for a last ditch tackle from Arbilla to deny him the opener.
It was an exciting start to the game and the Vallecas crowd was making itself heard as the chances continued to come thick and fast. On nine minutes Cesc and Xavi combined to set up Neymar, whose effort was just deflected wide by a Rayo defender. Barça were looking more and more comfortable on the ball and on 19 minutes, Messo beat three men and laid on another chance for Neymar, who this time saw his shot go just wide.
Pedro pops up for his first.......
Rayo were pressing high up the pitch and on 21 minutes that nearly produced results, when Montoya was harried into a hurried back pass which caught Valdes wrong footed and nearly resulted in an own goal. Fortunately, the ball went just wide and the game stayed goalless until just past the half hour when Messi led a counter attack and set up Pedro who slotted home from the right hand side of the box. The Spanish forward nearly doubled the lead straight after, when he tried to chip the keeper, which just went over.
... and Valdés saves a pen again!
Rayo bounced back from the goal though and threw everything forward. With ten minutes to go in the first half, Adriano jumped into Trashorras in the box and the ref blew for a penalty, which the Rayo captain stepped up to take himself. Victor Valdes is in great form right now though and just three days after saving another in the game against Ajax, he brilliantly stopped this one and kept Barça ahead at the break.
Before the half time whistle Barça had a good shout for a penalty themselves, when Pedro appeared to be brought down in the box. The ref made no mistake soon after though when he showed Baena a yellow for a clattering tackle on Messi and Adriano also needed treatment before the break after a clash of heads with Bueno.
Early second half goal
Two minutes into the second half, Barça were ahead after Pedro got his second, Xavi slotted Cesc through down the left and his pinpoint cross to the far post was tapped in by Pedro
The two goal cushion gave Barça the chance to make even more chances, even though Rayo also continued to threaten Valdes’ goal. Messi came close with two quick efforts just after the hour and Neymar was also unlucky with an effort that went just inches wide of the post.
Pedro made no mistake though and when Neymar set him up for a close range shot he claimed his hat trick, just before he was subbed by Iniesta. Rayo keeper Ruben kept out Messi soon after, after a great combination with Neymar and then Cesc made it four when Xavi won the ball in midfield and set up his fellow Catalan midfielder to fire home.
Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino then brought on Tello and Dos Santos for Neymar and Xavi, before Valdes again made a great stop as Rayo tried for their consolation goal.
That made it five wins from five, with next up Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
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