Crystal Palace drew first blood in their League Cup semi-final against fellow Championship football side Cardiff City by winning the first leg 1-0 at Selhurst Park.
A close-range header from central defender Anthony Gardner shortly before half-time gave London club Palace a slender advantage for the second leg in south Wales in two weeks.
The first league Cup semi-final not to feature a top flight club since 2000 was a lively contest and Cardiff, FA Cup runners-up in 2008, will still feel confident of booking another trip to Wembley.
Palace, who shocked Manchester United in the quarter-finals, were content to play on the counter-attack in the second half as Cardiff searched in vain for an equaliser.
Premier League leaders Manchester City host Liverpool in the first leg of the second semi-final on Thursday.