Real Madrid got their La Liga campaign off to a winning start as they beat newly promoted Cordoba 2-0 at home, but champions Atletico Madrid were held 0-0 away to Rayo Vallecano on Monday.
Without the Manchester United bound Angel di Maria, Real were also far from convincing at the Bernabeu but got the three points thanks to Karim Benzema’s first-half header and a characteristic thumping finish into the bottom corner from Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time.
However, there was no such joy for Atletico as with coach Diego Simeone watching on from the stands they played out a bore draw with Rayo.
Simeone had been handed an eight-match touchline ban earlier in the day for his conduct towards the officials in the second leg of Atletico’s Super Cup victory over Real on Friday and his side suffered a hangover from that match in a lacklustre performance.
Mario Mandzukic had been the match winner against Real, but the Croatian striker had an evening to forget at Vallecas as he wasted Atletico’s best two openings towards the end of the first-half as he fired into the side-netting from Cristian Ansaldi’s low cross and then placed a shot too close to Rayo keeper Cristian Alvarez from the edge of the area.
Rayo had by far the better of the second-half, but despite their failings going forward, Atletico remained solid at the back.
Manucho had the best chance to win the game as he dove to meet Javier Aquino’s cross, but his header was turned away by Atletico keeper Miguel Angel Moya.
“In the first-half when we were on top and had two or three chances we couldn’t score the goal and it is normal that the other team reacts,” said Simeone.
“In the second half they played a lot better. I don’t know if they created many chances, but they had a constant threat of danger.”