La Liga wrap: Barca sizzle to keep title alive
Barcelona took the frustration of a tough week out on Rayo Vallecano, thrashing the Madrid-based minnows 7-0 in La Liga on Sunday.
After losing the El Clasico against Real Madrid last week, getting eliminated by Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday and finding out coach Pep Guardiola will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, the Catalan club put together a classic performance.
Lionel Messi scored the first and last goals and was involved in four other goals, while Pedro also scored twice and set up three others.
Barcelona took the lead in the 16th minute when Messi finished off the good lead-up play of Alexis Sanchez and Pedro before the visitors doubled the advantage 10 minutes later when Messi's shot was put into the net by Vallecano defender Rober.
Seydou Keita scored the third in the 38th minute thanks to an assist from Messi.
Just two minutes into the second half, Pedro scored his first. Messi released Sanchez down the left and then smashed the Chilean's cross against the bar but Pedro was there to score from the rebound.
In the 77th minute, Dani Alves and Pedro exchanged passes on the right before the Brazilian right-back crossed to Thiago who headed home.
Pedro scored again ten minutes later when Messi chipped the ball to him over Vallecano's defence, before the two players switched roles for Barcelona's seventh goal, and Messi's second, in the 90th minute.
The result means Real Madrid can't quite celebrate claiming the La Liga title just yet as Barcelona remain seven points behind the capital club with four matches remaining.
Real Madrid did, however, do the job against Sevilla, winning 3-0 for their third consecutive win in the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 19th minute before Karim Benzema scored a second-half brace to secure the home win for the league leaders.
Malaga, meanwhile, moved back into Spain's fourth European Champions League spot with a 1-0 win over third-placed Valencia.
Malaga and Valencia are now equal on 55 points, with Valencia ahead on goal difference, while Levante are just three points behind.
In other La Liga results on Sunday, Real Zaragoza defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 and Real Betis drew 2-2 with Atletico Madrid.