Rayo Vallecano played a tremendous match against Barcelona, but a hat trick from Pedro Rodriguez and stellar goalkeeping by Victor Valdés proved simply too much for Rayo to overcome.
Rayo immediately took advantage of their small home field and put Barcelona under some pressure. They just missed a chance to take an early lead in the third minute when a cross from the left found Jonathan Viera unmarked just a couple yards in front of goal. His header was on target, but Victor Valdés was massive, denying Viera with a quick reaction save.
Messi fired back a minute later, dancing around two Rayo defenders before a slightly heavy touch allowed a third Rayo player to clear the ball out, denying Messi a shot at the empty net. Neymar came close minutes later after Xavi found him in space on the left side of the box. His effort was cleared off the line at the last moment by Alejandro Gálvez
Barcelona finally got the opening goal in the 33rd minute when Alex Song's long pass found Messi at the top of the area. The Argentine striker held up the ball for a moment before moving the ball out right to Pedro who directed his shot past Rubén and into the bottom corner.
In the 35th minute, Rayo were given a penalty after Adriano went over the back of Roberto Trashorras just inside the Barca area. Trashorras stepped up to the spot, but his penalty kick was stonewalled by Valdés to preserve Barca's lead.
It took less than two minutes in the second half for Barcelona to double their lead. Cesc Fabregás ran onto the ball on the left wing and sent a low cross to Pedro who placed it past Rubén to make it 2-0. Pedro completely blew by Gálvez who lost track of the Barca striker.
Pedro completed his hat trick in the 72nd minute after Neymar sent a short pass across the face of goal for a fairly easy tap-in for Pedro. The goal was virtually identical to Pedro's second, with the two differences being that Neymar provided the assist and he was closer. Other than that, Pedro was once able to sneak into space being a Rayo defender.
Cesc got in on the fun in the 79th minute after a bad giveaway at the back allow the midfielder to beat Rubén with a shot from the top of the box.
Rayo Vallecano: Rubén; Tito (Nacho 45'), Arbilla, Gálvez, Mojica; Saúl, Baena, Trashorras; Perea (Embarba 48'), Bueno, Viera (Larrivey 58').
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Montoya, Mascherano, Piqué, Adriano; Song, Xavi (Dos Santos 83'), Cesc; Pedro (Iniesta 75'), Messi, Neymar (Tello 80').
Goals: Pedro (35', 47', 72'), Cesc (79')