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Barcelona 3-0 Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring the opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Elche CF at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Barcelona sealed second place in the 2023/24 La Liga season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday evening.

Robert Lewandowski’s early goal set up a routine win which was capped off by a two-goal haul from Pedri, who came off the bench to inspire his side to three much-needed points.

After the turbulence of the past week, Barcelona got off to the perfect start when Lewandowski took down Lamine Yamal’s cross and thundered home a glorious volley inside the first three minutes.

Rayo nearly grabbed an immediate equaliser when Pathe Ciss’s low drive had Marc-Andre ter Stegen scrambling, but the German stopper was alert to the danger and also had to compose himself to stop Alvaro Garcia from chipping him later in the half.

The dangerous Yamal fizzed over, before Sergi Roberto flicked a cross from Raphinha on to the outside of the post as the first half came to an end.

It looked as though Barcelona had found a second goal shortly after the restart when Joao Cancelo crashed home, but play was quickly brought back to a foul earlier in the move after Raphinha had left Oscar Valentin in a heap on the turf.

Ter Stegen and Rayo stopper Stole Dimitrievski both had busy starts to the second half but Rayo should have tied things up with 20 minutes to go.

Isi Palazon fired straight at Ter Stegen and saw Ronald Araujo fling himself in the way of the rebound, and Rayo were made to regret that miss when substitute Pedri went straight down the other end to score a goal of his own.

Some glorious movement from Joao Felix ended with a shot which was saved by Dimitrievski, but Pedri powered home the rebound courtesy of a deflection and a thump off the underside of the crossbar.

Just three minutes later and Pedri was celebrating once again. The midfielder collected a sensational long ball from Ronald Araujo and shrugged off three defenders before putting Barcelona into an insurmountable position.

Vitor Roque was lively off the bench but came up against a Rayo defence happy to sit deep and avoid conceding any further goals, bringing a pretty relaxed end to a game which Barcelona never really looked like losing.

Source – Barcelona 3-0 Rayo Vallecano: Player ratings as Pedri double seals second place (