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Disappointing league debuts for Atletico, Real Madrid

Posted on Aug 26 2014 | IANS

Madrid, Aug 26 : Spanish Primera Liga champions Atletico Madrid began their title defence with a drab 0-0 draw away to Rayo Vallecano while rivals Real beat Cordoba in unconvincing fashion.

The game Monday kicked off hours after Atletico coach, Diego Simeone had been handed an eight match ban as a result of his sending off in the final of the King's Cup Friday, reports Xinhua.

Perhaps his side's efforts in defeating Real Madrid just three days earlier had taken their toll as Atletico looked sluggish against a side known for trying to play fast touch football and although Mario Mandzukic wasted a couple of chances, the feeling was never that the champions were on top and as the second half progressed, Manucho had chances to give Rayo all three points as Robert Trashorras controlled the midfield.

On the whole a 0-0 draw was a fair result and not a surprise after the demands of the past week.

Real Madrid kicked off their season with a slightly unconvincing 2-0 win over newly promoted Cordoba which was more complicated than it was expected.

Despite starting with James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, the home side had to wait until the 30th minute before opening the scoring with Benzema finishing off a good cross from Marcelo from the left wing.

Cordoba fought back at the start of the second half with Aleksander Pantic and Mike Havenaar both making Iker Casillas work in the Real Madrid goal, although two poor attempts to claim Cordoba crosses by the Madrid keeper hardly served to convince the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium that he deserves to continue as first choice keeper ahead of Keylor Navas.

Cordoba continued to threaten and it was not until the last moment that Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the win with a right foot shot.

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