Ousmane Dembele returned but Barcelona’s Balaidos woes continued as the LaLiga leaders were held 1-1 at Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie on Thursday.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were among the big names rested by Ernesto Valverde, who named Dembele, fit again after sustaining a hamstring injury in September, among his substitutes.
The Catalan giants lost on their last two visits to Celta and the hosts, coached by former Barca goalkeeper Juan Carlos Unzue – who was Luis Enrique’s Camp Nou assistant – ensured the visitors’ difficulties in Galicia did not let up.
Barca’s lack of cohesion was clear throughout, although they took an early lead thanks to Jose Arnaiz, who tucked away an Andre Gomes cross to open the club’s account for 2018.
But Celta equalised before half-time, Pione Sisto taking advantage of slack defending to slam home a powerful drive from the rebound after Iago Aspas hit the crossbar and the ball ricocheted off goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Arnaiz spurned chances to put Barca back in front and Valverde turned to Dembele with 20 minutes remaining, but the club-record signing could not inspire his side to victory, although Sergi Roberto turned Nelson Semedo’s cross on to the outside of the post in injury time.