Liga - Barca bounce back after Getafe defeat
A double from Alexis Sanchez helped Barcelona cruise to a 4-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga at the Camp Nou.
Pep Guardiola's side had to recover from a shock 1-0 defeat at Getafe on Saturday and prevailed thanks to some scintillating attacking play to set a record 12 league games at home without conceding.
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.
The lead was doubled on 40 minutes by Sanchez 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 the break.
It wasn't all Barca's way as Rayo Vallecano had numerous chances but could not find a finish. Instead Lionel Messi compounded their misery early in the second half, finishing off a wonderful run to slot past the oncoming keeper.
The start was open and frantic as within the first minute Javi Fuego clossed down a poor Seydou Keita clearance to try his luck from 30 yards but blazed over.
Seconds after Andres Iniesta noticed David Cobeno was off his line and attempted a sublime half volley from the centre circle which had the keeper scrambling to push it wide.
Still within the first five minutes a floated ball over the top reached Rayo striker Alhassane Bangoura, whose stretched volley found the side netting.
That woke up Barcelona who began to assert their dominance with the quick, clinical passing and mazy runs from Messi.
It was Messi's silky skills that provided the opener as he breezed past several challenges to feed Xavi, who slotted through Sanchez in ample room to curl a superb finish.
Thanks to some fortune Sanchez added a similar second just before the break and Pique's marauding run forced Alves into space to feed Villa for the crucial third goal.
After the break the match turned into a procession as both sets of players were camped in Rayo's half as the away side had to soak up some heavy pressure.
However their resistance was broken within five minutes of the restart as Messi turned one marker and outmuscled a second to speed into the six-yard box and slot past Cobeno from an acute angle.
Barca should have added to their total after 70 minutes when Villa turned the last defender to lob the oncoming Cobeno but his effort was just over the bar.
The Catalans 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.
If Barca are to prevail against 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.