AEK Athens FC produced a sterling recovery to earn a point in the Santiago Bernabéu having trailed Real Madrid CF by two goals in their UEFA Champions League Group C encounter.
The title holders' failure to capitalise on a winning position lent them by Steve McManaman's pair of goals means they cannot yet celebrate their passage into the second group stage of this season's competiton.
The Greek side took their lead from the example set by Madrid in Athens three weeks ago. On that occasion the champions trailed 1-0 and then 3-1 before fighting back. If anything, AEK's achievement was all the greater because they did not score their first goal until the 74th minute when Konstantinos Katsouranis punished lax marking to head in following a corner.
For the first time in the game, Madrid, who succumbed to their first defeat in the Primera División at the weekend, no longer resembled their normal slick selves and AEK sensed their opportunity to make history. All four previous visits by Greek sides to the Spanish capital had ended in misery.
Substitute Walter Centeno stopped the rot and ensured AEK a valuable point and their fourth successive draw in the competition. Fellow sub Ilija Ivic did well to squirm away from Fernando Hierro's challenge and the ball he laid back was a gift for Centeno.
Madrid had made four changes to the side which preserved their unbeaten record in Group C with the 3-3 draw in Athens. Ronaldo was making his first appearance in the competition for them but both Raúl González and Luis Figo missed out with muscle strains. With Claude Makelele rested, there were opportunities for McManaman and Albert Celades.
Madrid attacked with purpose from the first whistle but had to wait until the 24th minute when McManaman guided in the pass which Esteban Cambiasso had drilled in from the left with great precision. Before that Roberto Carlos had drawn a sprawling save from Dionisios Chiotis.
Second for McManaman
McManaman, making his first start in this season's competition, then scored his second goal two minutes before the interval. It was the product of marvellous work from Ronaldo, who in the first instant sent Guti away. The Brazilian took a return pass, sidestepped two defenders and then played in McManaman, who made no mistake.
AEK had made little impression in the first half such was the home side’s dominance. It continued in that vein at the start of the second period but complacency then infected Madrid's approach and the visitors sensed their opportunity. They had an uphill struggle to get back on level terms but they passed the test and deserved their exuberant celebrations at the final whistle.