La Liga
4 October 2014
Game week
0 - 2
0 - 2
Estadio de Vallecas (Madrid)


0 - 1
35' L. Messi (G) (assist by: Piqué)
0 - 2
36' Neymar (G) (assist by: Munir)


Minute   Description
That's me wrapped, I've been Keeghann Sinanan and it's bye for now.
Barcelona scored two goals in barely over a minute to put the opposition to the sword. They could have had a handful more, but profligacy from Messi especially saw them end with a relatively modest 2-0 winning margin.
A wonderfully entertaining game of football here in the Spanish capital - though Rayo fans might not agree. They fell victim to their own game, as they were unable to create enough chances, and fell apart during a crucial spell. They ended the game with nine men.
90'+2 The referee ends it. Full time.
90'+1 SECOND RED CARD FOR RAYO! It's all collapsed again for the hosts. Aquino, the half-time substitute, slides in late and is immediately pulled up for his second yellow card. What a terrible end to an evening that hasn't gone at all according to plan for Rayo.
90' MESSI MISSES AGAIN! The resulting corner stays around the Rayo box, and Pique plays a scintillating first-time pass back into the box, where the Argentine is unmarked, but can't find the target!
ROOF OF THE NET! Sandro is felled just outside the area, and Xavi takes the resulting free kick, but a slight nick directs it onto the top of the net, with Tono a mere spectator!
89' THAT HAD POTENTIAL! Baptistao had the ball in space on the left, and had unmarked teammates in different positions around the box. He opts for the stinging pass to Bueno at the edge of the box, but the midfielder scoops his shot well over the top.
87' Baptistao is narrowly caught offside on the rarest of Rayo breaks. Time is really starting to wind down as Barca play out the remaining minutes in the very definition of cruise control.
85' MESSI MISSES AGAIN! Rakitic passes up the 20-yard shot in favour of a through pass for Messi. The Argentine takes it left then right, driving to the outside of his marker before firing away from close range, but it's well over the bar! The opportunities were there for him to at least match Zarra tonight.
83' Rayo should not have gotten off that easily. Messi finds Xavi, who provides something of a collector's item with an overlapping run down the flank. He returns the pass centrally, and Rakitic quickly works it back to Messi, who curls over the bar from just inside the area.
81' You have to really admire the understanding that's developing between Neymar and Messi. There's been a timing to their combinations that just wasn't there last season. And to think, there's still the suspended Luis Suarez in the pipeline. Terrifying stuff.
80' Neymar is done for the day. Sandro Ramírez is his replacement.
79' A speculative but powerful free kick from Bueno could have gone anywhere, but after a bit of pinball in the Barcelona box, Mathieu manages to clear the danger. Closest Rayo have come in a long while.
77' This game has gone away from Rayo ever since they were reduced to 10 men. Most of the second half has played out like a game of keep away on the training pitch for Barcelona. Enrique might be a little concerned that his team haven't been more ruthless though.
75' Trashorras's night against his former club is at an end, as he departs to a rousing reception from the fans. Josabed Sanchez replaces the 33-year-old, as Jemez uses his final sub.
74' Roberto Trashorras is replaced with Jozabed .
73' Pique gets the crowd on their feet in anger for being a bit too heavy handed on Gael Kakuta during an attempted Rayo break. The referee obliges, and books the Barca defender.
72' Piqué goes into the referee's book.
71' RAKITIC INVOLVED ALREADY! He pops up completely unmarked on the right side of the box, but slams his volley right down the throat of Tono, who can only parry! With some of the inexcusable gaps that Barcelona have been afforded in the final third, it boggles my mind that they're only 2-0 up.
69' Iniesta is done for the day. I. Rakitić is his replacement.
That's the last action of the game for Iniesta, in fact. He departs for Rakitic, as Enrique uses his second change of the match. The through ball machines just keep coming.
68' The pass comes in with a flourish from Xavi, and it lands right at the feet of Pedro. By hook or by crook, he manages to play it to his right for Iniesta, who curls a shot with absolutely no power towards goal that is routine for Tono - who still can't resist the acrobatics.
66' SO CLOSE TO A THIRD! Mathieu makes a marauding run down the left to leave his marker for dead, and squares a really enticing ball towards the far post. Pedro arrives late and makes contact, but Emiliano Insua clears off the line! More power from Pedro and that would have been 3-0.
64' Aquino becomes the latest Rayo player to get booked, as he clatters into Neymar right in front of the referee. The Brazilian has had a few lumps kicked out of him today by the opposition.
63' J. Aquino goes into the referee's book.
How will the red card affect Rayo's approach? Already risking a three-man defence in the second half, they now look ripe for the picking. Will they adopt a more direct strategy, or is it already damage limitation?
61' Messi lifts the resulting free kick well over the top. Just before that dismissal, Barca made their first change of the game, with Munir going off for Pedro. A good game for the youngster who set up Neymar's goal, though he wasted a glorious chance to provide the Brazilian with what would have surely been another.
60' RED CARD FOR RAYO! The hosts' task becomes that much harder. Morcillo comes in from behind and barges Neymar in the back. Simply reckless from the defender, who was already on a booking.
59' Munir is replaced with Pedro.
58' Bravo has certainly earned his corn today. Baptistao puts on the afterburners and drives past his man down the right side of the box. He lets fly with an almighty effort, but the Barca keeper sticks up a hand to make an excellent save!
56' Oh dear. Iniesta cut inside Tito and had the defender literally flat on his face. That opened up a lovely gap for the shot, but the midfield maestro couldn't shake the habit of a lifetime as he continues his dribble, only to lose the ball.
54' Aquino has been involved heavily since his introduction on the right. The Mexican international was a regular at the last World Cup, and was a gold medalist for his country at the 2012 Olympic Games.
52' Aquino gets space on the right to whip in a cross, and Bueno is the first to it inside the area. He gets his head to the delivery, but can't find the target, when he probably should have.
50' Slow-paced start to the second period from both teams. Rayo are still holding that reckless high line though, so don't be surprised to see Barca try to pepper them with through passes again.
49' These changes signal an attacking emphasis from Jemez for the second half. Manucho, the former Manchester United forward, replaces a defender in Ba - who was a ticking clock for a dismissal. Three at the back now for Rayo.
48' There's been some changes made by Rayo at the break, and it's no surprise. Javier Aquino replaces the anonymous Lica on the right wing, while Manucho replaces Ba.
46' Manucho Gonçalves enters play, replacing A. Ba.
Licá is replaced with J. Aquino.
Here we go again, as Rayo restart the game.
Bravo broke the record for minutes without conceding a goal to start at Liga season, and Messi is two goals away from matching Zarra's all-time haul of 251 Liga goals. Could end up being quite a night for the Catalan giants.
Rayo have been irresponsible at the back, but there's been a few signs that they might cause problems at the other end. They've tested Bravo in the first half through Bueno and have not made things easy for the visitors during certain spells.
PSG has been forgotten already. A confident performance from Barcelona, littered with purpose and danger. They've picked the wings off a side trying to play them at their own game, scoring twice via passes into space behind a defence more focused on maintaining possession than anything.
45' Right on the stroke of 45 minutes, the referee signals for the half-time interval.
43' Sometimes we forget just how rapid the Barcelona front three can be. So many teams usually hold ridiculously deep lines against the Blaugrana, meaning that the likes of Messi and Neymar don't often have the chance to stretch their legs on the run.
41' NEARLY A THIRD! No surprise to see Barcelona again profit from a through ball, as Munir squares up one-on-one against Tono, with Neymar free in support on the left. However, he tries to do it all himself, and is robbed of the ball by the keeper! No reason for Barcelona not to be even further ahead after such a clear opening!
39' Morcillo was booked shortly after the goal, by the way. He took a small chunk out of Messi to stop the Argentine from yet another clean run on goal. Leo really wants that record today!
38' Rayo have no one to blame but themselves. Barca were clearly set up to punish the gaps behind their high defensive line. The hosts did not try to drop deep even as the runners got closer and closer to breaking through on goal. What do they have in response?
37' Jorge Morcillo receives a yellow card.
36' Munir gave the assist.
THEY HAVE ANOTHER! Rayo are falling apart! This time, it's the other South American superstar who comes up with the goods! Neymar takes Munir's pass at an angle, but still keeps his head to finish expertly!
35' Piqué gave the assist.
WE HAVE THE OPENER! This time, there's no flag as Messi races onto Pique's pass, speeds past his man and finishes with aplomb! It's been coming for a while, as the space behind the defence is brutally exploited!
33' Roberto Trashorras is yellow-carded.
Trashorras runs his mouth for too long, and he gets booked by the referee for complaining too much about a free-kick decision. Not a smart booking for the midfielder to pick up.
31' GOAL DISALLOWED! The Rayo defence are caught almost at the halfway line, and Messi sprints a fair distance behind then to finish coolly into the corner, but the offside flag is up! Close, but correct call.
29' Rayo have already threatened, but it was a rather isolated and opportunistic chance that was presented. They need to provide more thrust at the end of their meandering build-ups. Then again, if Rayo could do that regularly, they would have done a lot better than 12th place last season.
27' Tono has already shown quickness off his line, and he reacts well again to smother at the feet of Neymar, who raced onto an Andres Iniesta pass. Barcelona keep knocking these through balls behind the Rayo defence. Sooner or later, one of them is going to prove deadly.
25' Bravo has yet to concede a goal at all in Barcelona colours. That honour goes to Ter Stegen, who let in three against PSG. The German may be the future No. 1, but that game hardly did his case any favours. Particularly jarring was the fact that Marco Verratti, the smallest man on the Parc des Princes pitch, was able to convert a header from a corner right at the near post.
23' And that is history! Bravo has held onto his clean sheet for long enough, meaning that he and Barcelona have avoided conceding at the start of a season for longer than any other Liga goakeeper or team in history!
21' Rayo are starting to settle into the game with their typical sequences of ball movement, but it's not blunting the threat of the opposition. Barca still look dangerous every time they attack. I haven't seen Messi play on the shoulder of the last defender like this in a while.
19' Abdoulaye Ba is a lucky boy to only see yellow. Messi had broken free of the offside trap, and the defender was forced to intervene with an ugly challenge. He was fortunate that Morcillo was a foot or so behind him, or else that would have been a clear professional foul as the last man!
18' A. Ba is yellow-carded.
17' Barca are attempting to be a little more direct than normal in their play, as they try to find the killer ball before the defence and midfield have a chance to set. Smallest pitch in the league, this, a far cry from the savannah that is the Camp Nou surface.
15' HUGE CHANCE! Messi nearly storms the visitors into the lead after latching onto Neymar's lovely clip over the top and taking the pass superbly on his chest. He has the angle at the near post, but Tono covers the gap well and saves the effort. Great save!
13' Less than 10 minutes remaining for Bravo to claim an all-time Liga record. Pello Artola currently holds the landmark for minutes without conceding a goal to start a season, after 560 goal-free minutes at the beginning of the 1977-78 campaign. Incidentally, Artola also played for Barca when he racked up that miserly streak.
11' Card coming out here for Xavi in retaliation to a handball on the top of the box. This gives Rayo a great opportunity from a free kick, but Roberto Trashorras can't get the ball to come down in time after flighting it over the wall.
10' Xavi is yellow-carded.
9' BRAVO CALLED INTO ACTION! Well then, despite all the Barca dominance, it's the hosts who fire the first warning shot! Alberto Bueno fires an excellent 18-yard shot towards the bottom corner, that is met by an equally accomplished save from the Blaugrana keeper!
7' Barcelona have come within inches on a few occasions of connecting on killer through balls. Rayo are known for letting their defensive line stray too far forward on occasion, and they've ridden their luck a couple of times already.
5' Very intimate settings tonight. The Campo de Futbol de Vallecas holds a shade under 15 000 spectators in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas, a suburb of Madrid. So tight is the venue, that there's no stand on the far side, with residents instead enjoying the view from their own balconies!
3' Some exhilarating build-up from Barcelona in the opening exchanges. Their tiki-taka football in central areas has put the Rayo defence under immense pressure early on. No shots as yet though.
1' We're off!
A banner night could be in store for Lionel Messi. After his brace in last week's 6-0 win over Granada, the Argentine is three goals away from matching Telmo Zarra's all-time record of 251 Liga goals. It seems like Messi has been smashing grand landmarks like this every season!
Enrique makes no less than five changes from his team's midweek game. Marc-Andre ter Stegen was unconvincing against PSG, and is dropped as expected for Claudio Bravo. Xavi, who has recently become a bit ornery on the bench, gets a start in place of Javier Mascherano. Also coming into the XI are Marc Bartra, Gerard Pique and Munir El Haddadi, with Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Pedro benched.
Only one change from Jemez following Rayo's 2-0 win at Levante. Jorge Morcillo comes in for Ze Castro, who is absent from the match squad entirely. Leo Baptistao, who scored a double in that game, will lead the line for the home side in their expected 4-2-3-1 formation.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Pique, Bartra, Mathieu; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Munir, Messi, Neymar.
Rayo Vallecano (4-2-3-1): Tono; Tito, Abdoulaye, Morcillo, Insua; Baena, Trashorras; Bueno, Lica, Kakuta; Baptistao.
However, all that possession has not done them a lick of good against the Catalan giants. Their recent history in this matchup makes for grim reading if you're a Rayo fan - seven straight losses including scorelines like 0-5, 0-6 and 0-7 - working out to an average of 4.5 goals conceded during that seven-game span.
Paco Jemez's team have become known for their incredible domination of the ball for such a relatively modest side, helped in no small part by Barca losing the possession battle to them in the corresponding fixture last term - for the first time in 317 games.
Rayo, on the other hand, have taken eight points from their opening six games, to sit just inside the top half of the table. They've scored exactly two goals in each of their last five games.
It's been a near-perfect start for Barca domestically though, with five wins and one draw marking their start to the Liga campaign. Luis Enrique's men have scored 17 unanswered goals so far, and are unbeaten in their last 11 league games, stretching back to last season.
Barca suffered their first blip of the new season midweek, falling 3-2 in France to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. The Blaugrana lost for the first time in 2014-15, and also conceded their first goals in any competitive match during this campaign.
Hello and welcome to another round of Liga action, as Barcelona travel to Madrid to face off against Rayo Vallecano. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.


Sergio Busquets
Raúl Baena
Roberto Trashorras
L. Messi
G. Kakuta
C. Bravo
E. Insúa
A. Ba
Léo Baptistão
Jorge Morcillo
Dani Alves
J. Mathieu


Additional info

Antonio Mateu
Pau Cebrián
Fourth official
Jon González

Match Stats

Rayo Vallecano Barcelona
41 Attacks (Dangerous) 66
6 Corners 7
19 Fouls 6
13 Free Kicks 24
11 Goal Kicks 7
3 Offsides 6
0 Shots (blocked) 1
7 Shots (off target) 9
6 Shots (on target) 6
0 Shots (woodwork) 0
29 Throw Ins 20

Regular Season

# Team MP D P

Estadio de Vallecas

Estadio de Vallecas