Gareth Bale scored on his debut but it wasn't enough as a plucky Villarreal secured a deserved point in their 2-2 draw at El Madrigal on Saturday night.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored Madrid's second goal of the night, while Cani and Giovanni Dos Santos were on target for the Yellow Submarine.
Pepe almost gifted the home side a chance in the sixth minute but Diego Lopez, who remained in between the sticks ahead of Iker Casillas, got a crucial hand onto a square ball to prevent danger.
Lopez then came up with another crucial save in the 14th minute before Villarreal's pressure paid off as Cani slotted home after good work from Bruno and Pereira.
The hosts continued to push forward and Lopez was forced into an excellent double save to keep out Aquino before Sergio Ramos responded with a header that tested the goalkeeper at the other end.
The stage was set for Bale though and the Welshman couldn't make a mistake when sliding in to finish off a low cross from Carvajal in the 39th minute.
The game continued to be an open affair after the break, but Bale's night came to an end in the 61st minute when he was taken off for Angel Di Maria.
Ronaldo would put Real ahead a minute later though as the ball rebounded off two defenders and the Portugal international before finding the back of the net in fortuitous fashion.
Villarreal would not be denied and Dos Santos popped up seven minutes later to tuck away a rebound after Lopez had denied Cani.
Both sides had chances to win the game late on but no more goals arrived as the points were shared.
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