Real Mallorca and Real Sociedad cancelled each other out in a cagey 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final at a packed Son Moix stadium on Tuesday.
Visiting Sociedad had the better of the few clear-cut chances with Umar Sadiq somehow failing to score from point-blank range in a marginally more exciting second half.
Mallorca talisman Abdon Prats went closest for the islanders with a volley midway through the first half and another low shot just off target early in the second half.
Sociedad will be favourites to progress from the second leg on February 27 although Javier Aguirre’s Mallorca will retain hope of repeating their sole Copa del Rey title in 2003.
Atletico Madrid face Athletic Bilbao in the opening leg of the other semi-final on Wednesday.
“With this opponent, who are better than us, who have a lot of resources, I’m happy with the result,” Aguirre said.
“We knew they were going to put us under pressure, it was a game where we had to work a lot, run a lot, maybe not the most attractive, but the tie is open.”
Mallorca’s 4-0 defeat by Bilbao at the weekend left them precariously placed just above the La Liga drop zone but the mood was buoyant ahead of Tuesday’s cup clash.
Sadly, the match was not much of a spectacle for the excited crowd as it descended into a tactical battle with Mallorca failing to register a single shot on target.
Real Sociedad, who will face Paris St Germain in the last-16 of the Champions League next week, gradually seized control of the match and would have returned home with victory but for some wayward finishing by Sadiq.
He headed a great chance over the crossbar in the first half and his night went from bad to worse after the break as he failed to find the net from a cross with the goal at his mercy, clumsily sending the ball over the bar.
He also blazed a rebound wide after Mallorca keeper Dominik Greif had made a great save to keep out a shot by Brais Mendez although he would have been ruled offside.
“He knows that this goal would have given us an advantage for the second leg, but here, when we slip up, we slip up together,” Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil said of his errant striker. “It’s football and we have to support him.”
Sociedad are looking to add to their 1987 and 2020 triumphs in the Copa del Rey while they also won the competition in 1909 when they were known as Club Ciclista de San Sebastian.