Coming back from the international break, Barcelona would've been eager to put that disappointing Sevilla result behind them as quickly as possible. Their foes this time were Paco Jémez's Rayo Vallecano. The Madrid-based side have developed a reputation for having a go of it regardless of opposition so fans flocked into the Camp Nou with hopes of an open and exciting game ahead of them.
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Those hopes were quickly turned into reality as both teams started brightly. Barcelona, and in particular Neymar, were looking to use rapid attacks to get at the Rayo defence and before long the home side had their first real opportunity.
As Sergi Roberto picked the ball up in the centre of the field, no one tracked the surging Ivan Rakitić and a great ball from Roberto found the Croatian. He gunned towards goal but Toño did well as he stood tall and stuck a leg out to deny Rakitić. After his great save, the Rayo keeper threatened to throw away his clean sheet as he scuffed his goal kick straight into the path of Sergio Busquets.
With no hesitation, Busquets found Luis Suárez in the box but the Uruguayan was denied by Toño as the keeper atoned for his previous error. The Catalan team were creating great chances but failing to convert any of them.
This lack of finishing was eventually punished by Rayo as they got the first goal of the game in the 14th minute. Bebé was allowed space on the left flank and he was given time to fizz a ball into the box. Javi Guerra came steaming in and finished with an instinctive side foot finish past a a helpless Claudio Bravo.
But Barcelona weren't behind for long. Just seven minutes later, Neymar dribbled the ball into the box and made it to the byline. As he skilled his way past Diego Llorente, the defender made a late sliding tackle and the referee was quick to point towards the penalty spot. With no Lionel Messi, Neymar was the man to step up and after engaging in a battle of the eyes with Toño, he slotted the ball to the keeper's right.
Neymar's tail was ruffled and he was proving to be Barça's most dangerous player. Shortly after his goal he had the ball in the net again. A crisp curled finish beat the keeper but not the linesman as he declared Suárez and Piqué offside in order to rule the goal out.
But ten minutes after his first penalty, Neymar again had the ball on the spot. This time he produced a beautiful piece of skill to nutmeg Nacho and as Neymar went round him, the defender flung out a leg and brought him down. Neymar calmly stepped up, gave the keeper the eyes and put the ball in the net.
Barcelona were starting to gain control but were still unable to convert their chances as frequently as they normally do. Sergio Roberto saw a shot saved and Neymar had a big appeal for a third penalty of the half but this time the referee waved it away.
The sides went in at half time with Barcelona having their noses in front.
It was the away side who started the second half brighter and it was beginning to look like Barça's failed chances were going to come back and haunt them. Claudio Bravo was needed to deny the Madrid team and some good pieces of defending from Jordi Alba kept Rayo at bay.
However, a Rayo goal did look like it was coming and Luis Enrique was looking visibly unrelaxed on the touchline. Any nerves the manger had were quickly put to bed as the game headed towards the 69th minute.
A Luis Suárez shot was well saved but Neymar was on hand to rifle the ball into the roof of the net for his and Barça's third. A minute later and the scoreline was made a little worse for the visitors.
Suárez raced away towards the Rayo goal and with the goal ahead of him he, unselfishly, chose to square the ball into the path of Neymar for a tap in. Neymar had his fourth with a goal that sends him top of the Pichichi table and completed the sucker punch to Rayo.
The attacking class was oozing from the Blaugrana and they compiled further misery for the visitors as they added a fifth. This time Neymar turned provider as he whipped a cross in from the left wing. On the end of it was the deserving Luis Suárez who fired the ball past Toño to make it 5-1 to the hosts.
Rayo did manage to claw a goal back in the 86th minute through Jozabed but it was too little, too late as Rayo were simply outdone by the attacking class of Barcelona and Neymar. However, there will be cause for concern in Barça's lack of defensive solidity.
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