Were it not for Frenkie de Jong’s 87th minute goal this report would be very short indeed.
The Dutchman struck from close range to earn Barcelona three vital points in the race for the top four, at a chilly Mendizorroza.
On most other days, a point would have been Barcelona’s outcome, because they did not generate many chances at all.
The first half was soporific and it was surprising that Xavi did not see fit to make changes at half-time.
Abde ran down blind alleys, the midfield and the attack were disconnected.
Things improved slightly after the break but it was still no great shakes.
Joselu should have put ALaves ahead with 10 minutes to go but headed off-target, while Pique had come close at the other end.
The goal came when Jordi Alba fizzed in a cross with his weaker right-foot and Ferran Torres beat the offside trap to cut it back for De Jong to finish.
The player had not been enjoying his night, like a lot of nights recently, but tucked it away to put Barcelona fifth, a point behind Atletico Madrid in fourth. Next up? Atletico, at the Camp Nou.