Andres Iniesta came off the bench to score as Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the Primera Liga to 13 points with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Real Mallorca at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
The Spain midfielder, making his first appearance after an eight-week injury layoff, was at the far post to tap home Eidur Gudjohnsen's low cross in the 75th minute and score Barca's second, putting them ahead for the first time in the match.
Aritz Aduriz had stunned the home fans with a quarter of an hour gone when he stole the ball from Yaya Toure in midfield, outpaced defender Victor Sanchez and clipped the ball over the onrushing Victor Valdes to give the visitors the lead.
Barca soon equalised when Thierry Henry controlled Xavi's deep corner at the far post and swept the ball into the net and, after Iniesta had given them the lead, Toure made amends for his earlier mistake with a well-taken goal in added time.
The Mallorca players vigorously protested Iniesta's goal and television replays appeared to show Gudjohnsen had received the ball in an offside position before making the decisive pass.
"We can all make mistakes but it hurts when a refereeing error destroys a match," Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano told reporters. "That mistake determined the outcome of the game."
Barcelona are top with 44 points from 17 matches ahead of Sevilla, who host bottom club Osasuna on Sunday (1800 GMT).
Mallorca, the last team to win at the Nou Camp when they triumphed 3-2 in May, have 14 points and are one place above the relegation zone. They finished with 10 men after defender Josemi was shown a second yellow card for a foul just before the end.
Barca were without striker Lionel Messi, who arrived back late from his Christmas vacation and watched the match from the stands alongside his Argentina coach Diego Maradona.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola said he was relieved to take the three points because matches immediately after the Christmas break were always dangerous.
"It was a real effort for us tonight but we showed patience, order and calm," he told reporters.
In Saturday's later game, Valencia beat Atletico Madrid at the Mestalla to leapfrog their visitors into third place.
David Villa slotted home a 33rd minute penalty and David Silva then coolly poked home the second five minutes later from twelve yards out.
Diego Forlan then grabbed a goal from the penalty spot for Atletico Madrid, his spot-kick just evading the reach of Valencia keeper Renan but Silva restored Valencia's two goal lead with a wonderful 25-yard drive in the 68th minute to seal the points for the home side.