Barcelona rebounded from a difficult week in spectacular fashion with a 7-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas on Sunday.
With Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola's announcement that the will be stepping down at the end of the season, following on from a Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Chelsea and a defeat in El Clasico, this was a welcome result for all at the Camp Nou.
Two goals each from Lionel Messi and Pedro as well as further strikes by Seydou Keita, Thiago Alcantara and a Rober own goal gave the visitors a resounding victory. But with Real Madrid still holding a seven-point gap over Barcelona with three games to play, this result is unlikely to have any impact on the destination of the La Liga title.
The first goal arrived with a typically stylish Barcelona move. After some neat movement and interchange of passes,Alexis Sanchez picked out Pedro at the far post, who took a touch before sliding the ball across goal for Messi to tap home.
Goal number two arrived 10 minutes later. Messi intercepted the ball in Vallecano's own half, allowing Seydou Keita to put Sanchez through first time. The Chilean rounded keeper David Cobeno, but from a tight angle his shot was heading across the face of goal before Rober slid in and put the ball into his own net.
And the match was effectively wrapped up before half-time with a strike from Keita. The midfielder started and finished the move as his cross-field ball picked out Messi who weaved his way inside before returning the ball to Keita to side-foot the ball low into the net.
Just two minutes into the second-half it was 4-0. Sanchez crossed the ball in from the left to find Messi whose first-time effort came back off the cross bar straight to the feet of Pedro, who had the simplest of tasks to side-foot the ball into an empty net.
And Barcelona produced a late flourish with three goals in the final 13 minutes. First, Dani Alves, who had again be left out of the starting lineup, played a cross in from the right from which Thiago headed down into the ground and into the corner of the net.
Pedro then got his second goal of the match after a quite sublime lofted through ball from Messi. And the scoring was completed in the last minute as Pedro returned the favor by setting-up Messi to side-foot home with his wand of a left foot.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.