Atletico Madrid snatched an unlikely 2-2 draw at LaLiga newcomers Girona after Antoine Griezmann was sent off at Montilivi.
A pair of headers in the space of three first-half minutes from Uruguay international Cristhian Stuani had the Catalan club within touching distance of a remarkable triumph.
Victory seemed virtually assured for Girona after Griezmann collected a second yellow card for dissent immediately after being booked for diving, marking his first ever red card in LaLiga.
But substitute Angel Correa rifled in from the edge of the area at the end of a brilliant solo run in the 78th minute and a previously nerveless showing from Pablo Machin's men wobbled in untimely fashion.
Goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz was culpable as Stuani's countryman Jose Gimenez converted Koke's free-kick and embarrassment was averted for Diego Simeone's side.
Both teams observed a pre-match minute's silence to honour the 14 people killed by Thursday's terror attacks in the region before Girona began in composed fashion.
Machin's men were methodical in their work, unruffled by failing to create early chances, and they hit the front after 22 minutes.
Borja Garcia worked possession back to Alex Granell, whose searching cross from the left was expertly headed home by Stuani.
Girona were in dreamland three minutes later as Stuani won a free-kick on the same flank and nodded in when Gimenez badly misjudged his clearance.
Yannick Carrasco tried to muster a response for the visitors, with former Athletic Bilbao keeper Iraizoz keeping out his bouncing effort from the edge of the box.
Remarkably, matters almost deteriorated further for Atletico four minutes before half-time.
Jan Oblak completed a double save by brilliantly changing direction to paw Borja's close-range effort off the line after Pablo Maffeo's deflected cross caused havoc.
Saul Niguez's 50th minute yellow card for hacking down tormentor-in-chief Stuani neatly summarised Atletico's frustration, although Griezmann – badly isolated during a first half where he was restricted to 12 touches – almost reduced the arrears with a spectacular overhead kick that flashed narrowly wide.
Simeone sent on attacking midfielder Correa in place of full-back Juanfran in an attempt to loosen Girona's firm grip on the contest, although an act of self-sabotage would see their evening unravel further.
Griezmann burst into the box and went to ground as Iraizoz plunged at his feet. Referee Juan Martinez Munuera deemed that to be simulation and the 26-year-old's apparently sharp tongue sealed his fate.
1 - Antoine Griezmann has been sent off in La Liga for the first time ever (253 appearances). Red. pic.twitter.com/Xol847vQQk— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 19, 2017
The type of inspirational moment Atletico might have hoped to see Griezmann produce belatedly arrived courtesy of Correa's stunning solo effort.
Girona responded by tearing up the other end, with Stuani spurning a hat-trick chance on the end of Portu's cross.
It was a miss he would regret when Iraizoz came for Koke's left-wing delivery and failed to get there as Gimenez planted a header into the net.
Marc Muniesa fired over as the hosts tried to salvage victory in stoppage time, while Olarenwaju Kayode – one of five Girona loan signings from Manchester City – forced Oblak to excel himself once again in a breathless finale.
Dropped points in their opening matches against Alaves and Leganes left Atleti playing catch-up in last season's title race and, with two more games on the road to come before the Wanda Metropolitano opens and a Griezmann suspension to contend with, Simeone's relief with be tempered by anxiety over history swiftly repeating itself.
Key Opta stats:
- Atletico have not lost a season-opening game in La Liga under Diego Simeone (W2 D3).
- Atletico have come from two goals down to be unbeaten for the first time in La Liga since May 2009 against Espanyol (win by 3-2).
- Christian Stuani is the only player to have scored two headed goals in a La Liga game against Atletico under Diego Simeone.
- Besides, Stuani is the only player to have scored a brace against Jan Oblak in La Liga (Cristiano Ronaldo scored but it was a hat-trick).
- Atletico are unbeaten in their last 12 La Liga away games (W6 D6), the longest current run of any team in the competition.
- Atletico have conceded two headed goals in a La Liga game for the first time since April 2012 against Levante.
- Antoine Griezmann has been sent off in La Liga for the first time ever (253 appearances).
- Of players to have scored 100 per cent of their goals from inside the box in the competition, Christian Stuani has scored more goals than any other current La Liga player (44 from 44).
- Stuani has scored a brace on his La Liga debut for Girona and on his Premier League debut for Middlesbrough.
- Antoine Griezmann has failed to score in his last six La Liga games, his worst run in the competition in 2017.
- Angel Correa has scored more goals as a substitute than any other player in La Liga since 2015-16 (nine).
|Dyche compares Sanchez-Man United move to Harry Potter|
|Landry grabs second-round lead as Rahm lurks|
|Kristaps Porzingis takes subtle jab at fans, media for All-Star starter snub|
|Schurrle annoyed at more dropped Dortmund points|
|Carrick expected to become Man Utd coach, reveals Mourinho|
|Koepka faces race to be ready for Masters|
|Barkley ´obsessed´ with becoming world-class at Chelsea|
|Guardiola wants ´three or four´ signings but rules out Sanchez alternative|
|Conte defends Chelsea amid surprise Carroll & Crouch links|
|Atlanta United wrap up Barco signing for MLS record fee|
|Derby County 0 Bristol City 0: Penalty controversy in goalless draw|
|Pau clinch top spot with perfect record|
|Hertha Berlin 1 Borussia Dortmund 1: Kagawa equalises in Aubameyang´s absence|
|Brighton break transfer record for Locadia|
|Dortmund still waiting on ´concrete´ offer for Aubameyang|
|Tom Brady addresses media, reveals no details of hand injury|
|Can will ´give everything´ at Liverpool despite Juventus talks|
|One Direction star trained with Mourinho´s Chelsea|
|Goretzka asks Schalke fans to not turn on him after agreeing Bayern deal|
|Youngs agrees new Leicester deal|
|Wozniacki slams ´rude´ umpire after Bertens win|
|Van Persie secures return to Feyenoord|
|Conte should replace Wenger at Arsenal, claims Carragher|
|Kimmich named Germany’s 2017 Player of the Year|
|Nadal´s best required against in-form Schwartzman|
|Moyes denies scouting Batshuayi and deals Chelsea blow with Carroll injury|
|Vunipola´s Six Nations hopes dashed as 12-week absence confirmed|
|No one like Ronaldinho until Messi - Guardiola lavishes praise on Brazil great|
|Simeone shrugs off mentality concerns at Atletico Madrid|
|Going for gold? Neymar meets Beckham in matching jackets|
|You think I change my mind that quick? – Klopp faithful to No.1 Karius|
|Conte backs Morata to overcome disciplinary concerns|
|Lloris a doubt for Southampton game, confirms Pochettino|
|Pieters edges into Abu Dhabi lead|
|Klopp doubts Alexis Sanchez tug-of-war decided by money|
|Conte admits Pedro dived|
|Valencia tie down Torres amid Real Madrid, Barcelona reports|
|Bangladesh claim record win over Sri Lanka|
|Congratulations! Guardiola offers well wishes to United-bound Sanchez|
|Pele pulls out of London event amid conflicting health reports|
|Conte would be ´happy´ for transfer help|
|Kontaveit dumps Ostapenko out, Wozniacki battles through|
|Sanchez to United not done at all, insists Mourinho|
|Rafa sails through, Kyrgios books Dimitrov showdown|
|Emery refuses to indulge Neymar-Cavani penalty debate|
|Wozniacki battles past stubborn Bertens|
|Goretzka chose Bayern over England, Spain and Italy – Heynckes|
|BBBofC ready to lift Fury suspension|
|I would reject such players – Heynckes slams ´selfish´ Aubameyang|
|Kyrgios proves cool credentials to Will Smith in Tsonga win|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Melbourne Victory 3: Barbarouses extends purple patch|
|Conte likes Dzeko but Chelsea have made no offer, says agent|
|Goretzka´s Bayern move good for Bundesliga, suggests Rummenigge|
|Root guides England home as Finch century proves in vain again|
|Walcott left Arsenal with his things in bin bags|
|Nadal breezes past Dzumhur in Melbourne|
|Schalke confirm Goretzka will join Bayern|
|Sergi Roberto renews Barca deal until 2022|
|Fernandinho seals extended Manchester City contract|
|Ceballos knee knock to be assessed after Real Madrid Copa win|
|O´Sullivan says snooker is ´weighted towards numpties´ as he repeats World Championship threat|
|Hamsik has no doubts over Napoli future|
|Corchia determined to repay Montella´s faith at Sevilla|
|Arsenal or Manchester United – who wins from the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal?|
|Black Caps survive Pakistan comeback to claim series sweep|
|Celtics lose without Irving as Cavaliers end skid|
|I can play against anyone, says 15-year-old Kostyuk|
|I would love to coach PSG – Mancini|
|Now an All-Star, Joel Embiid ´might have to pass´ on Rihanna|
|Merson: Mkhitaryan will be a sensation at Arsenal|