New signing James Rodriguez scored his first goal for Real Madrid but a late Raul Garcia equaliser for Atletico Madrid saw the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup finish 1-1 at the Bernabeu.
But Garcia scrambled the ball home from a corner for the La Liga champions.
Rodriguez came on for Cristiano Ronaldo, who went off at half-time with a suspected back injury.
The two-legged Super Cup is the Spanish equivalent of the English Community Shield - when the League champions play the FA Cup winners - and the 2014 edition saw reigning La Liga champions Atletico facing Real, who won the Copa del Rey last season.
Colombia striker Rodriguez was making his first appearance at Real's Bernabeu Stadium, where supporters paid tribute to club legend Alfredo Di Stefano, who died in July, before kick-off.
And the Champions League winners, who added the Uefa Super Cup to their collection by beating Sevilla in Cardiff last week, were a more potent force after the break.
|The James Rodriguez story|
|Born in Cucuta, Colombia, 12 July, 1991|
|Played in Colombia and Argentina before signing for Porto in 2010, scoring 32 goals in 105 games and winning three Portuguese titles and the Europa League|
|Joined Monaco in 2013, scoring 10 times in 38 appearances|
|Scored six times for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup finals to win the Golden Boot|
|Signed for Real Madrid on a six-year contract for a fee reported to be £65m, making him the fourth most expensive player in history|
Gareth Bale twice went close for Carlo Ancelotti's side, first seeing an angled drive saved by Miguel Angel Moya and then testing the keeper again with a fiercely struck free-kick.
Moya was unable to hold the Welshman's effort but new Real signing Toni Kroos was unable to convert the rebound.
However, World Cup winner Kroos was involved in the opening goal, the Germany international playing in Daniel Carvajal to cross low into the box.
Karim Benzema's shot was blocked but the ball fell for Rodriguez, who steered it home from eight yards out on 80 minutes.
That looked likely to give Real the advantage going into the return leg at the Vicente Calderon stadium but Atletico showed their resilience to hit back.
Diego Simeone's side, who have lost the services of Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, David Villa and Thibaut Courtois since their defeat by Real in the Champions League final, were unbeaten against both Real and Barcelona last season.
And they extended that run when Garcia flicked the ball past Iker Casillas from inside the six-yard box.