James Rodriguez scored in his Spanish debut but Atletico Madrid held Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
Real's glamour signing Rodriguez gave the hosts the lead in the second half only for Raul Garcia to equalise in the closing minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo's streak of scoring in his previous three Super Cup games ended when he was replaced at halftime after feeling discomfort in his left leg, though coach Carlo Ancelotti said after the match that he did not think the injury was too serious.
Throughout the first half, Atletico held Madrid in check by dominating the midfield with disciplined tackling and ensuring at least two players shadowed forwards Gareth Bale and Ronaldo every time a pass was made to them.
Iker Casillas was tested twice in the first 15 minutes by shots from Saul Niguez and Mario Mandzukic.
Atletico played a physical game throughout and defender Guilhelmo Siqueira was the first to be shown a yellow card after fouling Bale on the right touchline in the 13th minute.
Xabi Alonso was booked in the 39th minute for a clumsy tackle from behind on Atletico's left winger Koke.
After Rodriguez replaced Ronaldo at halftime, the referee calmed tensions when he punished Sergio Ramos and Mandzukic with a yellow card each in 60th minute after the two players fell from an aerial challenge with flailing arms.
Rodriguez earned a free-kick in the 67th minute which Bale took and Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya punched out straight to Kroos, who mis-kicked and skied the ball.
Kroos then stabbed the ball weakly in the 75th minute, giving Moya an easy catch, and Benzema headed over the bar three minutes later.
But the opener came in the 81st minute when Rodriguez, Colombia's World Cup hero, poked the ball home through traffic after Atletico failed to clear a Dani Carvajal cross.
Koke sought to equalise straight from the restart but Real keeper Iker Casillas tipped his long-range effort over the crossbar.
Garcia flicked home a corner in the 88th minute to ensure that the teams would have all to play for in Friday's second leg at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico midfielder Mario Suarez then appeared to handle Carvajal's shot in the penalty area but the referee waved play on before bringing the game to an end moments later.
The match was preceded by a tribute to Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano, who died in July. A string quartet played as the club displayed large photographs of the forward and the silverware he helped win to the crowd.