MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona maintained their perfect start to La Liga with a 4-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, a Pedro hat-trick and a penalty save byVictor Valdes helping them to win a game that was not a simple as it looked.
Spain striker Pedro took his tally for the season to five goals, while Cesc Fabregas netted the fourth, after Rayo had made life difficult for the visitors becoming the first team to edge them for possession in a match in five years.
The champions have 15 points from five games, and moved top ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference, after Diego Simeone’s side also maintained their 100 percent record with a 2-0 win at Real Valladolid.
Fourth-placed Real Madrid welcome Getafe on Sunday when Villarreal, who also have 10 points in third, visit Celta Vigo.
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino rotated his squad again with Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez starting on the bench, and his side were quickly on the back foot against a hard-running and aggressive Rayo.
An Alex Song interception was the starting point for the opener in the 33rd minute, as he set Lionel Messi on a jinking run past two defenders, and the Argentineforward laid the ball off for Pedro to fire low into the corner
Rayo began to run out of steam and Neymar almost bagged his first league goal for the club when he shot against the post, and shortly afterwards he selflessly squared for Pedro to tap home the third in the 72nd.
La Liga’s leakiest defence then conceded a fourth seven minutes later after another interception on the edge of their area, and Fabregas calmly curled a shot inside the post.