Rodriguez denied winner in Cup draw
A RAUL Garcia equaliser two minutes from time denied James Rodriguez a dream home debut for Real Madrid as Atletico Madrid salvaged a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Tuesday.
Rodriguez had surprisingly started on the bench, but replaced Cristiano Ronaldo at half-time when the World Player of the Year was substituted due to a muscle injury.
Colombian World Cup star Rodriguez opened the scoring with his first goal for Real 10 minutes from time.
However, Atletico got a precious away goal to take into the return leg at the Vicente Calderon tomorrow when Garcia flicked home a late corner.
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti allayed fears that Ronaldo's injury could rule him out for a prolonged period of time.
"He had a strain after the first half and he wasn't comfortable. We will evaluate him tomorrow and do all the proper checks, but it doesn't appear to be anything too serious," said the Italian.
Despite finding it difficult to break down Atletico's dogged defence, Ancelotti is confident that his side will emerge victorious tomorrow.
"Atletico have a small advantage because we have to score in the Calderon," he said.
"We have the potential to score goals at the Calderon and we will try. If we repeat the way we played today, we will win the Super Cup."
There was little of the flair that saw Real beat Sevilla in the European Super Cup a week ago and, although there were several new names in the Atletico side, they maintained the same solidity that saw them win La Liga.
While Real dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes against a physical Atletico side, they created precious little in front of goal.
Only when Rodriguez came on for the stricken Ronaldo did Real make a greater impression on the Atletico goal.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone hailed his side's work rate, saying: "In the first half, despite defending close to our area, we had three or four chances to score a goal.
"It is an important draw and allows us to play for the trophy at home with a 50-50 chance."