Atletico Madrid were held to a shock draw at home to Deportivo Alaves as La Liga made its long-awaited return from its summer break.
Newly-promoted Alaves equalised deep into stoppage time through captain Manu Garcia’s low long range effort.
Atletico thought they had grabbed a dramatic winner as Kevin Gameiro, signed in the summer from Sevilla, notched a debut goal from the spot three minutes into injury time.
But Alaves rallied and equalised with their sole shot on target just two minutes later to seal a famous away point for the La Liga newboys and shock Simeone’s men.
Atletico Madrid’s Champions League Final conquerors Real Madrid had no such problems, as they comfortably disposed of Real Sociedad 3-0 in San Sebastian.
Gareth Bale put in a man of the match display to score two goals and prove that it isn’t all about Cristiano Ronaldo, who was missing.
Sociedad honoured former striker Dalian Atkinson, who died after being tasered by police in England, with a minute’s applause.
But that wasn’t enough to rally the current crop as Real cruised to victory in the Basque country and got their title tilt underway in Zinedine Zidane’s first full season in the Bernebeu hotseat.
Barcelona began their title defence with a similarly easy win at home to Real Betis, in a match not short of goals and entertainment.
Luis Enrique’s men eventually won the game 6-2 courtesy of a Luis Suarez hattrick, two goals from Lionel Messi and one from Turkish international Arda Turan.
Betis, in their first game under new manager Gus Poyet, levelled on 20 minutes through Ruben Castro after Turan had given Barca an early lead.
A quarter of an hour later, Messi restored order at the Nou Camp before Suarez got his first just before half-time.
Suarez and Messi then got two in a minute ten minutes after half-time before Suarez completed his treble on 82 minutes. Castro’s second on 84 was scant consolation to the Andalusians.
Elsewhere, Sevilla twice came from behind to eventually beat Espanyol 6-4 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, while Las Palmas notched an excellent 4-2 win away at Valencia.