It will go down in the records book as a comfortable 4-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou tonight. But this game was much more than that. After the weekend’s shocking 1-0 defeat to Getafe, Barcelona found itself in the unusual position of looking up at Real Madrid. Before tonight’s kick-off Barca was six points behind Madrid and Pep Guardiola’s team knew that they could not allow that gap to grow any wider if they were to have any hope of retaining their La Liga crown.
Sanchez put Barca ahead after half an hour following a smart passing move, cutting in from the left to curl a delicious effort into the top far corner from the edge of the area.
Sanchez got his second after 40 minutes as a through ball to Xavi deflected off his heals into the winger’s path 12 yards out on the left and he poked the ball into the bottom corner.
Moments later Gerard Pique surged through the middle of Rayo’s back line and some intricate passing on the right of the box played in Dani Alves to square for David Villa to tap in a simple third before half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, any ideas that Rayo Vallecano had of making a contest of this game ended when Messi turned one marker and outmuscled a second to speed into the six-yard box and slot past Cobeno from an acute angle. Another brilliant goal from the best player in the world.
Barca strolled through the remaining 20 minutes and to Guardiola’s delight Xavi and Iniesta could be hauled off to rest for the upcoming Classico next weekend.
For Barca to beat Madrid on December 10 they will have to be far sharper at the back. However the attacking prowess displayed tonight will have Jose Mourinho’s men worried.