Robert Lewandowski’s stoppage-time goal earned Barcelona a morale-boosting 1-0 over Valencia at Mestalla on Saturday.
Both teams had efforts disallowed and also lost players to injury in a game that had otherwise been low on incidents.
That was until Lewandowski popped up to score a 93rd-minute winner, taking Barca back to the top of LaLiga – albeit Real Madrid do not face Girona until Sunday.
Valencia boss Gennaro Gattuso will be disappointed not to have taken something after an impressive defensive effort from his team, only to suffer late heartbreak.
It looked like Ansu Fati was set to give the visitors the lead in the 13th minute when he was played in on goal by Pedri, but Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili raced out and saved the 19-year-old’s effort with his face, while Fati did have the ball in the net 10 minutes later only to see it ruled out for offside.
It was a costly first half as both teams lost players to injury, with Los Che striker Edinson Cavani and Barca centre-back Eric Garcia both being substituted, before Robert Lewandowski hit the post with a header from a Jordi Alba cross.
The hosts thought they had gone ahead just four minutes into the second half when Thierry Correia’s cross from the right was directed in by Samuel Lino, but the video assistant referee overturned it after replays showed Marcos Andre had, for reasons only known to himself, handled the ball before it reached Lino.
Substitutes Ferran Torres and Raphinha made a mess of a promising situation with five minutes remaining as Pedri’s cut-back was scuffed at close range by the former, before the latter somehow volleyed the loose ball over the bar.
But, with just three minutes of injury time remaining, Raphinha made amends as he lifted a ball into the box for the otherwise quiet Lewandowski to expertly divert into the corner of the net with the outside of his right boot to win it for Barca.