Barcelona and Benfica battled out a goalless draw at the Nou Camp, meaning Lionel Messi remained one goal away from equalling Gerd Muller’s record and the Portuguese visitors crashed out of the Champions League.
Messi was introduced just before the hour and played for around 25 minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.
And that was not the only late drama, as Celtic – who had to better Benfica’s result to reach the last 16 – secured a 2-1 victory over Spartak Moscow, condemning Jorge Jesus’ side to third place in Group G and a place in the Europa League.
Much of the pre-match build-up had focused on Messi, with the prolific Argentina forward just one goal away from matching Muller’s 1972 mark of 85 in a calendar year.
But the three-time Ballon d’Or winner was named on the bench in Tito Vilanova’s much-changed line-up which included eight B team players, with Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas among the star names not included in the matchday squad.