A late missed penalty from Wellington Phoenix captain Ulises Davila has cost his side a crucial victory at Eden Park this afternoon, the Phoenix forced to be content with a thrilling 2-2 draw with Perth Glory.
The Phoenix came into the game knowing nothing but all three points were required to keep themselves in the box seat to secure a top six spot, and signs were good when Tomer Hemed blasted in his tenth goal of the season from the centre of the box midway through the first half.
The home side maintained their lead for much of the game, but Perth struck back twice in 15 minutes deep in the second half to flip the game on its head.
Bruno Fornaroli struck the equaliser before laying off the pass for Callum Timmins to score a long-range wonderstrike that could make a claim for being the goal of the season.
Buoyed by the Auckland crowd, the Phoenix refused to die wondering, and just minutes later struck an equaliser of their own, Jaushua Sotirio curling in a shot from the edge of the area and sending the 20,000-plus crowd into raptures.
The drama continued. With the clock ticking down, Cam Devlin was brought down inside the area, giving Davila the chance to seal a momentous victory.
But Perth keeper Liam Reddy kept out his shot aimed for the right corner, and the Glory cleared their lines to survive and leave New Zealand shores with a valuable point.
Davila said he felt "guilty" for missing the penalty, but said his side would continue fighting to try and make the playoffs.
"We get a penalty, we don't score, it's disappointing," he said.
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay remained upbeat post-game, but admitted their playoff chances were now out of their hands.
"It's disappointing we let them back into the game in the second half," Talay said.
"At the end of the day we've got to do our part and that's win our next game. Whatever happens [elsewhere] happens."
Despite not being the desired result, the draw meant the Phoenix remain unbeaten through a record ten games.
The Phoenix's last game of the season is against Macarthur in Campbelltown next Friday. The Phoenix are one point behind Macarthur, although the Australian side have a game in hand.