Mariano Diaz stepped into Karim Benzema's shoes, but the absence of Sergio Ramos in defence proved costly for Real Madrid at Villarreal.
Real Madrid's LaLiga title defence suffered another early setback as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Villarreal despite leading for 74 minutes on Saturday.
The champions were without captain Sergio Ramos and star striker Karim Benzema due to injury but were in front after just 107 seconds through Mariano Diaz, back in the line-up for the first time in 18 months.
Mariano's previous start in May 2019 had seen him score twice in a victory over Villarreal, yet his goal - which angered Unai Emery and his players amid confusion over a potential offside - proved only enough for a point this time.
Thibaut Courtois felled Samuel Chukwueze and, after a number of close calls for a defence evidently missing Ramos, Gerard Moreno tucked away the resulting penalty to equalise, keeping Madrid fourth following their humbling at Valencia prior to the international break.