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Sep 22, 2013

Messi and Pedro celebrating Pedro's Goals against Rayo Vallecano

Barca continued with their excellent start to the season with 4-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano. Usually a 4-0 victory would be described as a thrashing. But not this one. This was even for most of the parts, the difference was our strikers were able to cash on the chances at the correct time. The match was to an extend an exhibition of how fragile our defense was, it was understandable as there were some changes which exposed them a bit.Martino continued with his rotation policy, this time Montoya finds a place in the starting line-up instead of Dani Alves. The back four for this outing was Montoya, Mascherano, Pique and Adriano. The midfield trio also saw the rotation with Song finding a place in starting eleven; a rare start along with Cesc and Xavi. The front three was Pedro, Messi and Neymar, more or less expected.

The match started in some serious frantic pace. In the 3rd minute Valdes made a brilliant save to deny Perea from a header from point blank range. At the other end Lionel Messi showcased his dribbling skills, getting past two defenders as if they weren't there but to see his effort cleared off the line. In the 9th minute Neymar forced a clearance off the line. In the 19th minute a brilliant Messi run completely took the Rayo defense out and he slipped the ball to Neymar, whose attempted curler went wide. In the 21st minute we almost conceded when Montoya's back pass to prevent a Rayo counter had too much power for Valdes; luckily for us it went wide off the far post. At the half an hour mar, we were still struggling to get the game under control. The trio of Song, Cesc and Xavi was struggling to dominate control; something neutral fans wouldn't complain as the game was really wide open.

In the 32nd minute Barca finally managed to break the deadlock through a brilliant finish by Pedro. The goal came from the magical feet of Lionel Messi whose run dragged all the defenders, he released Pedro on the right, who made no mistake with the finish. In the space of a minute he created one more chance for Pedro, this time the attempted finish went high over the bar. In the 36th minute Rayo Vallecano was given a penalty after Adriano was penalized for a clumsy challenge in the box; it was rather rash by Adriano especially considering that Valdes made a brilliant save in that build up. It didn't matter much as Valdes produced another save to deny Rayo the equaliser . At half time I believed our players were a bit more relieved to have a break from the frantic pace. How difficult the game was for us? Rayo had almost 49% possession in first half, remember the last team which did that to us - Bayern Munich!

We needed a better performance in the second half, and that was what we got at the start. Cesc fabregas played found Pedro who scored his second of the night in the 47th minute. In the 61st minute Messi accelerated from the right into the box past defenders before forcing a save from the ex-Barca keeper Ruben. In the 66th minute Neymar showed the glimpse of his pacy dribbling skill running into the box with break-neck speed but his post hit the inside of post and stayed out. In the 71st minute Montoya made a crucial clearance after a nasty bounce forced Valdes to spill a shot from free kick. In the 72nd minute Pedro completed his hat-trick after a brilliant work by Neymar. Neymar played a one two with Cesc before squaring the ball to Pedro for a simple tap-in.

In the 75th minute Martino brought in Iniesta for hat-trick hero Pedro Rodriguez. In the 76th minute Messi was denied by Ruben after brilliantly linking up with Neymar. In the 79th minute Cesc fanregas made it 4-0 after some seriously questioning defensive work by Rayo Vallecano. In the 80th minute Tello came in for Neymar, who was brilliant on the night. In the final minute of stoppage time Valdes had to make yet another save to make sure that he keep a well earned clean sheet.

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