The Brumbies' Super Rugby finals hopes are all but over after a 24-19 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Needing a fourth straight win, the 10th-placed Brumbies looked buried when trailing 24-5 well into the second half.
However, they stormed home with two late tries and threatened to snatch victory when sweeping downfield in the final play before a contentious knock-on call from referee Rasta Rasivhenge.
The South African didn't see Chiefs lock Tyler Ardron knock the ball down, seemingly deliberately, which should have resulted in a yellow card.
Former Brumbies great and Fox Sports commentator George Gregan was infuriated such a big call hadn't been referred.
"The Brumbies lost it in the first half, that's a fact. But that moment, that's where you want technology to stop what in other codes they call a howler," he said.
"Because that was a howler of a decision."
Other calls appeared to go against the Brumbies but Brumbies flanker David Pocock didn't want to make it a focus.
"I'm incredibly proud of our effort. I thought we had belief right to the end," he said.
"But against a team like the Chiefs, a few lapses and they punish you. They're an incredibly classy team."
The Brumbies are five points behind the eighth-placed Melbourne Rebels and will need a big win over the Waratahs next week to move ahead of them on points differential.
They'll also need other results to go their way.
Dan McKellar's men dominated the second half against one of the competition's premier sides, just as they did when upsetting the Hurricanes last week.
The overcome their first-half turnover jitters while winger Henry Speight also came alive.
The other Brumbies try went to outstanding fullback Tom Banks but it wasn't enough to overcome the Chiefs, who kept their nose in front through a try to reserve back Johnny Fa'auli midway through the second half.
Nothing went the Brumbies' way in the first half, losing flanker Tom Cusack to injury from a head clash with teammate Rory Arnold.
Chiefs forward Jesse Parete was shown a yellow card late in the second half but Pocock was adamant there should have been more.
The Wallabies openside constantly asked Rasivhenge why he wasn't punishing the Chiefs for persistent offending.