Antoine Griezmann was sent off but Atletico Madrid battled back to secure a dramatic 2-2 draw at La Liga newcomers Girona in their opening match of the new season on Saturday.
The Catalans were making their debut in Spain’s top flight. Following a minute’s silence at Estadi Municipal de Montilivi in respect of the victims of the terror attacks in Barcelona and the nearby seaside town of Cambrils, Girona raced into a two-goal lead.
Uruguay forward Cristhian Stuani headed in a cross at the far post on 22 minutes and was on target again just three minutes later when he nodded the ball in after it had been knocked back through the six-yard box following a deep free kick.
Atletico then found themselves down to 10 men. In the 66th minute, Griezmann was cautioned for what the referee viewed as a dive over Girona goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz just inside the penalty box.
The French forward then appeared to say something to the official. Referee Juan Martinez Munuera swiftly showed Griezmann another yellow card followed by a red to leave Diego Simeone’s men with it all to do.
However, Atleti responded when Angel Correa pulled a goal back with a fine individual strike in the 78th minute before, with just six minutes left, Jose Gimenez headed in an equaliser from Koke’s free kick.
In Saturday’s earlier kick-off, Willian Jose’s late penalty gave Real Sociedad a 3-2 win at Celta Vigo.
The hosts had taken the lead in the 22nd minute when Uruguay forward Maximiliano Gomez hooked the ball in at the far post.
La Real, though, were level just 10 minutes later when Mikel Oyarzabal capitalised on a loose pass from goalkeper Sergio Alvarez to score into an empty net from the edge of the penalty area.
Gomez was on target again five minutes into the second half when he lashed in an angled drive after a corner was flicked to the back post.
The visitors, though, set up a tense finish when Jose Juanmi was slipped into the left side of the penalty area to equalise with 10 minutes left.
Then, with 88 minutes on the clock, Celta Vigo defender Jonny pulled down Carlos Vela as the Sociedad forward looked to dart clear down the right, which the referee ruled was inside the box.
Brazilian frontman Willian Jose made no mistake from the spot, lashing the ball into the bottom corner to snatch all three points.
Saturday’s late kick-off saw Sevilla and Espanyol draw 1-1 at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, where the hosts finished with 10 men following substitute Ever Banega’s late dismissal for foul language.
Clement Lenglet put Sevilla ahead on 26 minutes when the defender bundled the ball in at the near post following a corner, but a fine individual goal from Leo Baptistao had the visitors level before half-time.
Both sides had chances to win the match, with Sevilla forward Luis Muriel rattling the woodwork, before Argentina midfielder Banega — who only came on just before the hour — lost his cool in the 84th minute after being cautioned and was then shown a red card by Alejandro Hernandez.