Carlos Alena had a cameo appearance from the bench for Barcelona but he sealed their second goal and three points with a 2-0 win over Villarreal.
Ernesto Valverde is having to rely heavily on his squad of late after multiple injury problems and Alena’s appearance from the bench delighted the home crowd.
Replacing Arturo Vidal on the hour mark, the young midfielder finished off a superb move late on thanks to a sublime Lionel Messi pass.
Barca had started the game well but chances for Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele failed to break the deadlock.
The latter was in superb form and he became provider from the left hand side, crossing in for Gerard Pique, whose header was too strong for Sergio Asenjo.
Gerard Moreno enjoyed a good battle with Pique and the former Espanyol looked like the away side’s best chance of scoring a goal, but he could not get the better of the Barca defender, who had arguably his best game of the season.
The win moves Barcelona top of the league, however, Sevilla’s chances of going ahead of the Catalans will depend on their game against Alaves on Sunday evening.
Villarreal remain mid-table, but are still struggling for goals.