Ernesto Valverde rung the changes for Barcelona's trip to Celta Vigo in La Liga on Tuesday and a 10-man Blaugrana had to cling on for a 2-2 draw at Balaidos to stretch their unbeaten record in the Spanish top flight to 40 successive matches.
It was a constant struggle for the champions-elect, and Celta looked more likely than most to end Barca's unbeaten run, especially as the visitors started without Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba.
A first league goal in a Barca shirt from Ousmane Dembele put the Catalans ahead nine minutes from the break, but Jonny Otto equalised on the stroke of half-time.
Paco Alcacer then netted Barca's second minutes after Messi came off the bench on the hour only for substitute Sergi Roberto to be given his marching orders for felling Iago Aspas 18 minutes from full-time.
Aspas bundled home Celta's second equaliser with eight minutes to go, and Barca just held on to earn a point.
Valverde Gamble Just Pays Off
Philippe Coutinho and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen were the only first-team regulars included in the starting XI by Valverde, per Goal:
The Barca manager clearly had his eye on Saturday's Copa del Rey final against Sevilla, and it could easily have backfired.
When Aspas netted to make it 2-2 in the 82nd minute, Barca were at sixes and sevens. Sergi had been correctly dismissed just minutes after coming on with Messi, and it looked as though the Blaugrana's incredible run was more likely than not to come to an end.
However, somehow they clung on for a point and a record unbeaten run:
Barca Indebted to Ter Stegen
Ter Stegen has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Europe this season and had to be at his best to keep his side in the contest on Tuesday.
He showed brilliant reflexes and awareness to save a point-blank effort from Maxi Gomez in the 10th minute and was at full stretch when keeping out Brais Mendez's shot just before Dembele's opener.
In the final throes of a thrilling and ramshackle contest, he then did just enough to put off Lucas Boye, who should have netted the winner after being played in behind the defence.
Per Spanish football writer Rafael Hernandez, few have been more important to Barca's current run than the German stopper:
Jonny in the Box
Celta had the better of the first half but looked set to be heading into the break behind after a brilliant Dembele left-footed half-volley, per Sky Sports LaLiga:
However, defender Jonny produced a poacher's finish just two yards from goal to turn home a fizzed Maxi Gomez ball from the right on the stroke of half-time.
It was the least the hosts deserved and they continued to look superior in the second half.
The introduction of Messi did have an effect, though. The Argentinian's very presence caused Celta to sit a little deeper, and it soon led to Barca's second as Alcacer touched home at the near post following Paulinho's initial effort.
Barca travel to Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano to face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday as they aim to win the tournament for a fourth time in succession.
Meanwhile, Celta are back in La Liga action on Saturday when they host Valencia.