Mar 17, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Barcelona
3-1
Rayo Vallecano
Villa (25'), Messi (40', 57')
Manuel Pinto (90')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Tamudo (70')
Piti (18'), Trashorras (29'), Gonzalez (58'), Tito (63'), Rubén (69')

Match Analysis: Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano

Match Analysis: Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano
© AP Photos
Sports Mole dissects the action as Barcelona record a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano.

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona recorded a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

The Catalan outfit had plenty of chances in the early stages, but had to wait until the 25th minute to take the lead with David Villa finishing from close range.

Villa then turned provider five minutes before the interval when he fed Messi, who scored for the 18th league match in a row. The Argentine was at it again just before the hour mark when he converted from close range.

Rayo scored a late consolation via Raul Tamudo after 71 minutes, but they could not force a comeback as the Catalan outfit held on for the three points.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two sides.

Match statistics:

Barcelona:
Shots: 15
On target: 6
Possession: 53%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 9

Rayo Vallecano:
Shots: 15
On target: 8
Possession: 47%
Corners: 10
Fouls: 17

Was the result fair?

There is not any possible situation where anything other than a Barcelona win would have reflected the match this evening. That is not to say that Rayo did not enjoy positive periods in the game, but they left it too late to really make an impact. Barcelona were in second gear for large periods, but still managed to win 3-1.

Barcelona's performance

Crisis? What crisis? Barcelona may have had a dip in form in recent weeks, but they are certainly back to their best. The combination of Messi and Villa quelled suggestions that there is a rift between the pair. That said, their defence did come under pressure in the latter stages as Rayo pushed forward.

Rayo Vallecano's performance

It is hard not to admire Rayo for their work ethic and refusal to be beaten. They lack quality at times, but more than make up for it with pure effort. Even when they were on the end of severe pressure, they were prepared to launch attacks of their own in an attempt to get back into the match. Unfortunately, they just could not live with the tempo when Barcelona turned it on.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Lionel Messi: Just the average night of football for the Argentine. Two goals, one assist, with his first of the evening making sure that he scored in his 18th league match in a row. Just about as good as it gets from the magician.

Biggest gaffe of the match

Alejandro Dominguez was guilty of a terrible dive in the early stages of the match. The Argentine embarked on a mazy run into the penalty area, but when he lost control, he decided to throw himself to the ground under slight pressure from Javier Mascherano. The Rayo winger was lucky to escape a booking.

Referee performance

Jose Gonzalez had a fairly productive 90 minutes of action this evening. The Spaniard was perhaps too lenient in the early stages, but the challenges soon stopped when he started to issue cards. In truth, he was largely a spectator as he watched two teams comfortable in possession.

What next?

Barcelona: The Catalan outfit face an away trip to relegation-threatened Celta Vigo on March 30.

Rayo Vallecano: Rayo will attempt to return to winning ways when they host struggling Malaga a week on Saturday.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is congratulated by team mate Thiago after scoring against Getafe on February 10, 2013
Read Next:
Live Commentary: Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano - as it happened
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona2017305794854
2Atletico MadridAtletico2012712992043
3Valencia20124441212040
4Real Madrid19105439182135
5Villarreal2010462822634
6Sevilla2010282628-232
7EibarEibar208482431-728
8GironaGirona207672929027
9Real Betis208393341-827
10Getafe207672520527
11Celta Vigo207583327626
12Athletic Bilbao206862322126
13Leganes197481719-225
14Real Sociedad206683334-124
15Espanyol206681625-924
16AlavesAlaves2061131629-1319
17Levante203981628-1218
18Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2044122244-2216
19Las PalmasLas Palmas2042141647-3114
20Malaga2033141333-2012
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