Barcelona made it a Spanish record 35 games unbeaten in all competitions as they defeated nine-man Rayo Vallecano 5-1 on Thursday, going eight points clear at the top of the Liga in the process.
Last weekend Luis Enrique’s side matched the undefeated run of Leo Beenhakker’s 1989 Real Madrid team and tonight in the Spanish capital they set a new mark of their own. Lionel Messi scored his 30th Barcelona hat-trick – taking his Liga tally for the season to 19 – while Luis Suárez had a penalty saved and Arda Turan opened his Blaugrana account.
Barcelona’s cause was made easier by the 42nd-minute dismissal of Diego Llorente, by which point they were leading 2-0, for a high challenge on Ivan Rakitić. Manuel Iturra saw red midway through the second period for bringing down Sergio Busquets in the area. Rakitić had fired the visitors ahead, pouncing when goalkeeper Juan Carlos dropped a cross at his feet.