Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves in extraordinary circumstances at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday night.
Atletico, aiming to make the championship race a three-team affair for a fourth year in a row, looked to have secured the win after Kevin Gameiro converted a stoppage-time penalty on his debut. But Alaves’ Manu Garcia stunned Atletico with a long-distance strike seconds before the whistle.
Diego Simeone’s side had seen their title rivals Real and Barcelona claim maximum points before they took to the pitch.
Atletico dominated Alaves, hitting the woodwork twice, and peppering the visitors’ goalmouth with a barrage of shots that only increased as the match went on.
It looked like they had got their reward for their relentless hard work after a debatable penalty decision in the third minute of additional time.
The spot-kick was awarded after Fernando Torres was fouled by Victor Laguardia, and Gameiro took advantage.
Yet they let two points slip from their grasp as Manu was allowed the space to unleash a right-foot rocket two minutes later.
Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who had barely touched the ball owing to his team’s total dominance, got nowhere near.
And so Atletico’s season opener in La Liga ended in disappointment in a draw.