Racing Santander and Real Sociedad played out a disappointing goalless draw at El Sardinero, generating a result that does little to help either side.
With the home team marooned in the relegation zone and Sociedad not far above it, both were desperate to end with three points and, in a lively first half, it seemed inconceivable that goals would not come.
But that was how it proved, with Juanjo Gonzalez’s men unable to cash in after the Txuri-urdin had Inigio Martinez sent off in the second half.
After he was dismissed, Los Racinguistas barely fashioned anything looking like an attack and Phillipe Montanier’s men went home marginally happier.
Racing started in a manner that belied their lowly standing, and they could have been two up inside six minutes had Alvaro Gonzalez and Christian Stuani had found their range when well placed.
The visitors then stirred and Antoine Griezmann crunched a 25-yard drive against the post, before failing to find the target with a more presentable chance 12 yards out.
Manuel Arana drilled into the body of Claudio Bravo at the other end as the opportunities continued to flow, and Bravo did well to deny Stuani not long after.
Antonio Tono was also impressing in the other goal, clawing away Griezmann’s left-footer, while Adrian should have converted a six-yard header for the home side as the interval approached.
How the deadlock had not been broken by the half-time whistle was a mystery, although the second started at a much slower pace and the first action saw Martinez receive his marching orders.
He had already been booked for dissent, and when he brought down Papa Diop in the 54th minute, referee Carlos Velasco Carballo had little hesitation in sending him from the field.
Crucially, Griezmann then squandered a chance from 12 yards that would have seen his side make good of their numerical disadvantage and, after that, it was a case of how would Racing make the most of their extra man.
They were unable to do so, though, and the game limped to a disappointing conclusion, especially in light of how entertaining the first half had been, and Racing’s Domingo Cisma’s poor late effort summed the end of the game up.