Western Force coach Tim Sampson has thrown his support behind Domingo Miotti after the Argentinian missed an after-the-siren match-deciding conversion attempt in a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to the Chiefs.
The Chiefs skipped out to a 20-7 lead in the 57th minute of Saturday night's match after producing a two-try burst following a yellow card to Force winger Jordan Olowofela.
But the contest took a dramatic twist when Chiefs No.8 Luke Jacobson was red carded in the 66th minute for his second bookable offence of the match.
Force winger Richard Kahui crossed in the 68th minute to close the margin to six points, and the gap was just one when Miotti touched down after the final siren.
It meant Miotti could win the game with his conversion attempt from near the sideline - but the kick narrowly missed the target.
"Unfortunately it didn't curve to the left, it curved to the right," Sampson said.
"He's won us games this year, in pressure situations.
"He's a guy that would stay out kicking until the lights come on at training. He practices so hard and long. He's a world-class goalkicker."
Force stand-in captain Kyle Godwin said the late fightback was proof of the team's never-give-up attitude.
"That was a tough one. I can say I'm so proud of the boys," Godwin said.
"We've had this real belief, and we've worked hard to make sure we go the full 80 minutes and create a strong ticker in the team.
"To go and put out that performance and take them to the last minute, I'm so proud of the boys, but so devastated about the result.
"Unfortunately we couldn't get the result tonight. But we can take a lot out of that game, to know we can succeed in this competition."
The pulsating victory for the Chiefs meant Australian teams went 0-5 in week one of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.
The Chiefs were down to 13 men on Saturday night when centre Anton Lienert-Brown and Jacobson were sin binned within two minutes of each other shortly before halftime.
The Force were awarded a penalty try in between the two yellow cards to level the scores, but the Chiefs took a 10-7 lead into the break when they slotted a late penalty despite being down to 13 men.
The Chiefs held firm early in the second half while still down to 13 men, and the Force went down a man in the 53rd minute when Olowofela was sin-binned for a cynical knockdown.
Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris and winger Jonah Lowe crossed over for tries within minutes of Olowofela's exit to stretch the lead to 20-7, with flyhalf Damian McKenzie failing to nail the conversion on both occasions.
The Force were given a glimmer of hope in the 66th minute when Jacobson was shown a red card for interfering at the breakdown.
That glimmer of hope became a realistic victory shot when the Force swung the ball wide to the right for Kahui to cross over.
The home fans were in ecstasy when Miotti crossed at the death to set up a match-winning conversion attempt, but the kick was just wide of the target.