MADRID: Surprising Alaves moved within a win of its most important soccer moment in nearly 16 years by holding Celta Vigo to a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Thursday.
A home victory next week in Basque Country will put the small club back in a major final for the first time since it lost to Liverpool in the decisive game of the 2001 UEFA Cup.
"It was important to get a good result here, and we leave with a very good one," Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco said. "Now we will be playing in our home, with our fans behind us."
Alaves was promoted to the top flight this season after 10 years in Spain's lower divisions, including four in the third tier.
"We leave with the feeling that at home we can achieve our goal," Alaves coach Mauricio Pellegrino said. "We are much stronger there."
The Basque Country club has never made it to the Copa final.
The winner of the return game on Wednesday will face two-time defending champion Barcelona or Atletico Madrid. Barcelona won 2-1 in Madrid on Wednesday.
It was a lackluster start in Vigo, with few scoring chances created by either side under steady rain at Balaidos Stadium.
Celta striker Iago Aspas had the best chances for the hosts in the second half, first with a dangerous strike saved by Pacheco in the 58th minute, and then with a powerful shot that struck the crossbar in the 67th. Celta midfielder Pablo Hernandez also was denied by the woodwork in the 87th.
Alaves, sitting 12th in the league, had its best opportunity before halftime, when a close-range flick by midfielder Manu Garcia was remarkably saved by Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez.
Celta, a four-time runner-up in the Copa, is trying to return to the final for the first time since 2001.