Real Madrid opened their Champions League campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb Wednesday.
Coach Jose Mourinho watched from the stands as winger Angel Di Maria scored in the 53rd as Real began their bid to win their 10th European title with a win.
Di Maria finished emphatically after a swift team move as the Spanish giants finally beat goalkeeper Ivan Kelava, who produced a series of fine saves to deny Real in the first half.
The only blemish on the night was the dismissal of left-back Marcelo in the 73rd minute, after the defender picked up a second yellow card for diving.
Mourinho was relegated to the stands as he started his three-game touchline ban but his assistant, Aitor Karanka was satisfied with the team's performance.
"It was a good performance in a very difficult away match and we are happy with getting the start we wanted," he told reporters.