Clement Lenglet gave Barcelona a 1-0 win with an injury-time header against Cultural Leonesa in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-32 tie on Wednesday.
Four days after their 5-1 thrashing of arch rivals Real Madrid, the Catalans struggled for inspiration in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi and rested stars Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho against their third-tier opponents.
It was Cultural who missed the better of the opportunities to earn a first-leg advantage to take back to Camp Nou in December until the first minute of second-half stoppage time when Lenglet scored his first goal for the club.
Denis Suarez had the chance to add a flattering look to the scoreline deep into stoppage time but pulled wastefully wide, while the otherwise impressive Cultural midfielder Sergio Marcos received a second yellow card for dissent.
Ernesto Valverde handed chances to Ousmane Dembele, Malcolm and Arturo Vidal alongside several youngsters, including centre-half pairing Chumi and Jorge Cuenca and left-back Juan Miranda.
The best chance of a poor first half fell to Zelu, who was denied by Jasper Cillessen after Nelson Semedo was dispossessed near his own penalty area.
Barca were then dealt a blow when Sergi Samper, so unlucky with injuries over the past two years, was left in tears on the touchline after being forced off with a calf problem.
Cultural continued to cause problems for Barca, who themselves looked sluggish in possession and short of creativity, with a wayward Dembele free-kick summing up their performance in the first hour.
Cillessen made a fine one-handed stop to keep out Saul Gonzalez’s rasping drive and deny Cultural a famous win, and Barca grabbed a goal in the dying minutes with their only clear-cut chance of the match, Lenglet heading past Jorge Palatsi as Dembele got his dead-ball delivery right.