Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 6-0 to go top of La Liga

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Barcelona, March 9: FC Barcelona marched to the top of the La Liga convincingly thrashing Rayo Vallecano 6-1 here.

A sunny Sunday and the knowledge that a win would see Barcelona overtake Real Madrid at the top of the table in the wake of Real's 1-0 defeat against Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday ensured the stands in the Camp Nou Stadium, reports Xinhua.

File photo of Lionel Messi

Rayo coach Paco Jemez can never be accused of cowardice and his footballing philosophy knows only one word 'attack', no matter who the rival is.

That philosophy saw Rayo comfortably avoid relegation last season and it has given them a comfortable cushion over the drop zone this time around. But against a side like Barcelona, it is an invitation for defeat.

While most sides in the Camp Nou close lines and defend on the edge of their penalty area, Rayo look to take the game to their rivals, leaving fatal spaces at the back, perhaps why they had conceded 31 goals in their last seven matches against the Catalans.

Goal 32 took just six minutes to arrive as Luis Suarez, hitting his best form at the right time, collected a through ball to fire past Cristian Alvarez in the Rayo goal.

The rest of the first half saw both sides look to exchange attacks, but no further goals arrived until the 48th minute when Gerard Pique was on hand to fire home a rebound after Jordi Alba's header hit the post.

Lionel Messi, with a twice-taken penalty made it 3-0 and then added a fourth when he tapped home a loose ball following a Suarez shot. He completed his hat-trick by scoring his third goal in 12 minutes, when he rounded Alvarez before slotting the ball home.

The goal means he has now scored as many goals as Cristiano Ronaldo in the league.

Rayo got a consolation goal from the penalty spot as Alberto Bueno was brought down by Dani Alves, who was sent off. But Suarez's second of the day ended the scoring to end an excellent week for Barcelona, who have not only qualified for the Cup final, but also gone to the top of the table.

IANS

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