Rayo Vallecano Vs. Barcelona, 2012 La Liga: Cules Run Roughshod Over Rayo

Poor Rayo Vallecano. While their fans were angry at having been charged extra for their tickets too see Rayo play Barcelona, the team was getting beaten around - badly. Lionel Messi was his normal brilliant self as Barcelona put an awful week behind them with a 7-0 thrashing of Rayo that kept Real Madrid from clinching the La Liga title ... for now.

It took 16 minutes for Messi to get the opening goal with a simple tap in of a Pedro cross. Rober gave Barcelona help they really didn't need with a own goal that made it 2-0 and Messi got involved again with a brilliant pass to set up Seydou Keita for a third goal.

Up 3-0 at halftime, Barcelona weren't about to take their foot off of the pedal. Pedro scored just after the break to add to the visitors' lead before Thiago scored and Pedro added a second to make it 6-0. Just for good measure, Messi picked up a brace in the 90th minute and Barcelona had themselves an incredibly easy win to give Pep Guardiola something to smile about two days after announcing he would be stepping down at the end of the year.

Had Barcelona lost, Madrid would have clinched the title, but because they trampled over Rayo, the race for the title is still technically alive. Even so, with Madrid seven points up and just three matches to play, they need just a win to make the title officially theirs and that could come as Wednesday.

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