Crystal Palace 0-0 Brighton

Brighton's Andrea Orlandi and Tomasz Kuszczak

Crystal Palace and Brighton will head into Monday's Championship play-off semi-final second leg with everything to play for after a goalless draw.

The visitors should have taken the lead through on-loan Southampton midfielder Dean Hammond but he headed straight at Eagles keeper Julian Speroni.

Palace were better after the break, with Brighton's Andrea Orlandi clearing Danny Gabbidon's header off the line.

But Palace lost striker Glenn Murray to an apparently serious knee injury.

Murray, who has scored 30 goals during the campaign, was carried off on a stretcher midway through the second half and is likely to miss the second leg.

Brighton, seeking a second promotion in three seasons, will feel they have a slender edge going into next week's return leg in Sussex, having survived a strong second-half Palace performance.

Yet Palace will still hope they can return to the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated from the top tier in 2005, particularly with the dangerous England winger Wilfried Zaha in the side.

In a high-stakes encounter, it was perhaps understandable there was little to choose between the two rival sides in a first half lacking in clear-cut chances but not in effort.

While Palace ended the league season on the back of one win in 10 games, Brighton sprinted over the finishing line with three successive victories.

And the visitors should have taken the lead in the 22nd minute when Will Buckley's pinpoint cross found Hammond lurking on the edge of the six-yard area.

But to the relief of the home fans at Selhurst Park, he could only direct his header straight at goalkeeper Speroni with the net at his mercy.

Hammond skewed another chance wide in the 33rd minute while in-form striker Murray - signed from Brighton in 2011 - looked a shadow of the player who has caused untold damage to opposition defences this season.

For 50 minutes Holloway's side offered little going forward before Zaha, who joined Manchester United in January before being loaned back to Palace for the rest of the campaign, tested former Old Trafford goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak with a routine save.

That was the beginning of a decent spell of Palace pressure, during which Jonathan Williams narrowly failed to divert Zaha's delivery across the six-yard area over the line.

Moments later, Orlandi was forced to make a clearance off the line following an inswinging free-kick which Gabbidon headed towards goal.

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Poyet happy with Brighton draw

The loss of Murray, stretchered off in the 66th minute, failed to disrupt Palace's flow as Inigo Calderon had to make a vital clearance following Joel Ward's dangerous cross.

But both sides will have to be more clinical in the second leg at Brighton.

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway:

(On Glenn Murray): "The doctors are having a look and he'll need a scan.

"It could be all sorts of things but the doctors fear it is cruciate ligament damage.

"I'm pleased with the performance, and I thought we finished strongly even after losing Glenn.

"We'd have liked a lead but we didn't get one. But it's still all to fight for and all to play for."

Brighton manager Gus Poyet:

"The thing that pleased me most was the first half.

"Normally the home team starts strongly but we played our way and passed the ball and had best chances of the half.

"In the second half I expected that reaction from Palace and it was more difficult for us.

"But we defended well and showed we are a very difficult team to beat."

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