Atletico Madrid failed to follow up their victory over city rivals Real in the UEFA Super Cup as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia in their LaLiga opener.
Diego Simeone’s men triumphed 4-2 after extra time in Tallinn last week but threw away a one-goal advantage to pick up just a solitary point from their trip to Mestalla.
The lively Angel Correa gave Atleti the lead after 26 minutes, before Rodrigo Moreno drew Valencia level in the early stages of the second half.
Rodrigo's goal marks the first time Valencia have scored against Atleti in their last five league encounters.
Valencia have been busy in the transfer market during the close-season and new recruit Daniel Wass almost made an instant impact when he went close with a dipping effort from distance after four minutes.
Diego Costa was the first man in an Atleti shirt to get a proper sight of goal but saw goalkeeper Neto get down well to keep out his left-footed shot from the centre of the box in the 15th minute.
The visitors’ opener arrived 11 minutes later when Antoine Griezmann split the Valencia defence with a throughball that Correa latched on to and slotted past Neto.
31 - Antoine Griezmann has been involved in 31 goals in 31 games for Atletico in 2018 in all competitions (22 goals and nine assists). Magic. pic.twitter.com/Xyqm6X6ySY— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 20, 2018
Rodrigo's attempt to produce an immediate response from 20 yards flew over the crossbar, but he was not to be denied after the interval.
Wass lifted a superb volleyed cross into the box, which Rodrigo took down on his chest and blasted into the back of the net.
It could have been 2-1 moments later, when Gabriel Paulista arrowed a header at the right-hand post from a corner, and Atleti may be relieved to take home anything from a tricky start to the campaign.
What it means: Atleti lose ground
It may be the first weekend of the season, but Atleti will not take kindly to losing ground on title rivals Barcelona and Madrid so early.
Barca got off to a winning start against Alaves on Saturday, before Julen Lopetegui's men saw off Getafe on Sunday.
Pat on the back: A Wass act
Wass has been a star man for Celta Vigo over recent seasons and he appears to have instantly settled at Valencia. His ambitious early effort may have been slightly wayward but his volleyed delivery from a Geoffrey Kondogbia crossfield ball to set up Rodrigo was superb. He could even have capped his performance with a winning goal, but Jan Oblak kept out his low drive at the end of a quick counter attack two minutes from time.
Boot up the backside: Godin loses his head
Diego Godin will certainly feel he could have done more to preserve Atleti's lead. There was little wrong with his general performance but it was his missed header that allowed Wass' cross to reach Rodrigo for the equaliser, as he appeared to misjudge the ball in the air.
Key Opta facts
7 - El Atlético de Madrid nunca ha perdido en su estreno liguero bajo las órdenes de Diego Pablo Simeone (2V 5E). Combativo. pic.twitter.com/AAfnBlxxyT— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 20, 2018
- Angel Correa has scored Atletico's first goal in each of the last two LaLiga seasons.
- Antoine Griezmann has been involved in 31 goals in 31 games for Atletico in 2018 in all competitions (22 goals and nine assists).
- Valencia scored with their first shot on target of the game (four in total).
Atleti will look to maintain their momentum when they host Rayo Vallecano at the Wanda Metropolitano next Saturday, while Valencia visit Espanyol the following day.
21. November 2018
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