Barcelona 3-1 Rayo Vallecano: 3 Things we learned
Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 in a La Liga match at Camp Nou last night to go to 63 points from 27 matches. Barca now lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by 7 points and look almost certain to win their 26th LaLiga title. Rayo Vallecano, on the other hand, still remain in the relegation zone with 23 points in 27 matches.
Rayo Vallecano had taken the lead in the 23rd minute of the match through a strike by Raul De Tomas. However, Barca scored through Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in the 38th, 51st and 83rd minute respectively to clinch yet another win.
The Catalans will now face Olympique Lyonnais next week in the return leg of the Champions League round of 16 encounters. They are eyeing a treble this season, and look good enough to achieve that objective.
Now, let's take a look at 3 things we learned from yesterday’s match:
1. Rayo score through a swift counter-attack
Barcelona have conceded some goals through counter-attacks this season. Teams like Valencia and Sevilla have scored against them in this fashion, and Rayo did the same yesterday. Arturo Vidal conceded possession in the opposition half, and a long ball was played to De Tomas, who was playing as Rayo’s lone forward.
De Tomas showed good ball-control and dodged past Pique to take a rasping shot to the left corner of Barca’s goal, which beat Ter Stegen comfortably. It was De Tomas’ 35th goal in 57 matches for Rayo, and the former Real Madrid player impressed with his speed and finishing abilities.
Rayo played with a 5-4-1 formation for the majority of the first half, as their primary intent was to stop Barca from scoring. This strategy was quite understandable, as they would have been more than happy to get a point against a mighty opposition in an away match.
Therefore, they sat deep and allowed Barca to make probing runs into their penalty box. To their credit, the Rayo defenders absorbed pressure very well, and made some timely challenges inside the box to stop the Barca forwards from scoring. They also went into attack intermittently, and stunned the home team with a great strike from De Tomas.