Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray was stretchered off with a knee injury as Brighton held the Eagles to a goalless draw in their Championship play-off semi-final first leg at Selhurst Park.
Brighton enjoyed the better of the first half, with Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni maintaining parity with a point blank save from Dean Hammond's thumping header.
The momentum swung Palace's way in the second period, with Wilfried Zaha creating a chance for Jonathan Williams, but the Welshman failed to make contact with Zaha's low cross.
Murray was carried off after twisting his knee badly and looks a major doubt for Monday's return leg, with Williams also limping off.
Brighton went into the game unbeaten in their previous 11, and continued that fine form in the first half against a Palace side that had staggered into the play-offs.
Palace were pinned back for long periods by Brighton, who were resilient and well organised as they looked for their first win in this corner of south London for 28 years. And the Seagulls created a couple of decent chances to dampen the mood of the home supporters.
But Brighton were unable to capitalise on their clear advantage and Palace, inspired by Zaha, who was playing his final game at Selhurst Park before moving to Manchester United in the summer, came out strongly in the second half.
Zaha had a low shot saved from 20 yards by Tomasz Kuszczak before Zaha turned provider. Twisting the booked Inigo Calderon inside out, Zaha's teasing cross from the left was centimetres away from reaching Williams, who had stuck a toe out.
Palace lost some of their impetus after losing Murray - and later Williams - to injury, but were still the better side and defender Danny Gabbidon saw his header cleared off the line by Andrea Orlandi, despite a hint of handball.
Kazenga LuaLua came off the bench to add a threat from the wing for Brighton, but neither side could make the breakthrough, and they will resume their rivalry at the AMEX Arena on Monday night.
- Sports & Recreation
- Glenn Murray
- Wilfried Zaha
- Julian Speroni