POST MATCH: Barcelona cruise past Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona re-established their seven point lead at the top of La Liga, with a 3-1 home win against relegation threatened Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night.

Ernesto Valverde's side had seen the gap closed to four points following Atletico Madrid's 1-0 win over Leganes earlier in the day, but goals from Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sealed all three points for La Blaugrana.

The visitors had looked to upset the odds early on, with Raul de Tomas firing home from the edge of the area, on 24 minutes, for his 11th La Liga goal of the season.

However, Barcelona responded quickly and Pique headed in from a Messi free kick on 38 minutes, to send the Catalan side in on level terms at the break. 

The game turned on 51 minutes, as Rayo defender Jordi Amat was adjudged to have fouled Nelson Semedo inside the area, and Messi fired home his 26th league goal of 2018-19.

As Rayo pushed for an equaliser, they were always vulnerable on the break and Suarez slotted in his fourth goal in as many games from substitute Ivan Rakitic's pass in the closing stages.

The result means that Michel's side stay two points adrift of safety in the relegation zone, as Barcelona take another step towards retaining their league title.

Tags Gerard Pique Lionel Messi Luis Suarez