Barcelona: Pinto; Adriano (Dani Alves 22'),
Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Fàbregas (Alex Song 81'),
Busquets, Iniesta (Thiago 63'); Alexis, Messi, David Villa. 4-3-3.
Rayo: Rubén; Tito, Gálvez, Jordi Figueras, Arbilla; Adrián González (Lass 61'), Trashorras; José Carlos, Chori Domínguez (Isaac 84'), Piti; Delibasic (Tamudo 69'). 4-2-3-1.
1-0. 25. Villa. Fired angled shot past Rubén after Messi passed across.
2-0. 40. Messi. Turned shot past keeper after Villa passed ball through.
3-0. 57. Messi. Ran on to Villa through ball and lifted shot over keeper.
3-1. 70. Tamudo. Turned shot past Pinto close to goal from Piti cross.
Yellow cards: Piti 17', Trashorras 28', Tito 62', Rubén 68', Pinto 90'.
Barcelona maintain the thirteen point gap at the top of the table after a 3-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday evening. Fresh from their Champions League victory over AC Milan, Jordi Roura's side were full of renewed confidence, and Messi rattled the crossbar with a free kick before putting David Villa through to open the scoring midway through the first half. Trashorras did go close a couple of times for the visitors, but with five minutes to go to the break Villa returned the compliment, slipping the ball through for Messi to score for a record eighteenth league game in a row. Alves hit the post early in the second half and Alexis shot wide, and a few minutes later Messi made it three after running on to another Villa assist before lobbing a shot past Rubén. With twenty minutes to go substitute Tamudo connected with Piti's cross to get one back for Rayo, and Tamudo and Piti went close after that, but Barça could have won by a bigger scoreline had Messi been able to beat Rubén a couple of times near the end.