BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid was held to a drab 0-0 at third-division Olimpic Xativa in its Copa del Rey opener on Saturday, while Atletico Madrid started its title defense with an easy 4-0 win at minnow Sant Andreu.
Madrid was without suspended forward Cristiano Ronaldo and the flu-stricken Gareth Bale, but not even Karim Benzema, Marcelo, and Luka Modric going on as second-half substitutes could help it break through Olimpic's modest, but disciplined defense.
Carlo Ancelotti's team will still be heavily favored in the second leg of their round-of-32 tie at home in two weeks. But Olimpic's players went beyond merely savoring the moment, and being sure to take Madrid's jerseys as prized souvenirs.
"We have left the series wide open. Anything can happen now," said Olimpic goalkeeper Francisco Solar, who made a key save to parry Madrid's best chance by Isco Alarcon early in the second half.
Olimpic installed extra seating at its La Murta Stadium and the small Valencia-based club launched fireworks before the start of its biggest game in recent memory. A moment of silence was held for Nelson Mandela.
Olimpic arrived to the match with the nine-time European champion on an unbeaten run in Spain's third division. And after Madrid's lackadaisical start, it appeared to grow in confidence it could hold its own and ended up having relatively little trouble recording its eighth straight game without conceding a goal.
Ancelotti said his players were not accustomed to playing on the artificial turf.
"It wasn't a great game, but it wasn't too bad," Ancelotti said. "I am satisfied. We don't have to be worried."
Also, Celta Vigo beat visiting Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to take the advantage in their tie.
Levante became the first topflight team to lose to a lower-division opponent after falling 1-0 at Huelva Recreativo, while Getafe drew 1-1 at second-division Girona.
With various veteran stars injured or resting, it was a night for some of the more promising talents to shine in the wins of Atletico and Celta.