Melbourne Heart scored a scintillating goal from Alex Terra to force a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory tonight.
The Glory needed a win to keep their finals hopes alive and things were looking good when Todd Howarth found the back of the net in the 34th minute.
But the Heart hit back with 20 minutes left when Brazilian striker Terra produced a stunning overhead goal to help put his side on equal points with sixth-placed Newcastle Jets.
Perth were desperate for a win but unfortunately were unable to get the result they wanted as their already slim finals chances slipped away even further.
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth Crowd: 7,962 Referee: Gerard Parsons Yellow cards:PG - nil MH - nil
Only one shot on target from each side in the opening 15 minutes as both the Glory and Heart tried to work each other out in the early stages.
Scott Neville produced a solid chance for the Glory in the 22nd minute when he advanced deep into the right side of the penalty box before playing it into the path of Todd Howarth but he could not get enough on the ball to send it past Heart keeper Clint Bolton.
Neville was providing a few problems down the right for the Heart, getting the upper hand of his battle with Rutger Worm, and he was the one providing plenty for his side who were a little bit wasteful at times.
GOAL But the Glory got a deserved opener in the 34th minute when Tommy Amphlett made a positive run outside before dinking it to Robbie Fowler who played a deft ball back into the path of Amphlett. He knocked it down with his chest for Todd Howarth who had the simplest of finishes for his first of the season.
The goal really clicked the Glory into gear as they were in search of a second but down the other end, goalkeeper Tando Velaphi produced a vital diving save from a Josip Skoko free-kick just a minute before holding onto a 40th minute Alex Terra strike to maintain his side's advantage.
Perth had a late chance from a Fowler header late in the piece but they were content to go into the break with a one-goal lead.
Perth's Adriano Pellegrino had the best early chance of the second half when he shrugged off Wayne Srhoj in midfield before unleashing a fierce shot goalward in the 58th minute but unfortunately for the home side, it flew over Bolton's crossbar.
The Glory were unlucky not to have a second when Neville's 63rd minute header evaded a few players in the six-yard box and it appeared to cross the line before Srhoj cleared it but referee Gerard Parsons and his assistants did not allow the goal as the score stood at 1-0 despite protests from Perth players who were adamant it went over.
GOAL After a few minutes of domination, the Heart managed to restore parity in rather spectacular fashion in the 70th minute when Alex Terra produced possibly the goal of the season. Dean Heffernan crossed in from the left for Gerald Sibon who nodded back across goal where Terra controlled with his back to goal before knocking a superb overhead kick into the top corner to make it 1-1 and getting fans from both clubs out of their seats.
Velaphi came to the rescue of the Glory with eight minutes remaining when he made a brilliant save from John Aloisi's glancing shot. The ball was certainly headed for the top corner but Velaphi again came up with the goods to keep it all tied up.
Melbourne had a few late half chances but could not penetrate the Glory goal as the home side had a fantastic chance in the final second through Neville who had skipped past his Heart markers but the final shot was inches wide of the mark.
PG Tando Velaphi (gk), Josh Mitchell, Andy Todd, Jamie Harnwell, Robbie Fowler (Taggart 80'), Scott Neville, Tommy Amphlett (Skorich 85'), Steven McGarry, Adriano Pellegrino (Fondyke 79'), Todd Howarth, Mile Sterjovski
Subs - Alex Pearson (gk), Howard Fondyke (79'), Adam Taggart (80'), Anthony Skorich (85')
MH Clint Bolton(gk), Michael Marrone (Heffernan 64'), Michael Beauchamp, Matt Thompson, Rutger Worm (Terra 35'), Wayne Srhoj, John Aloisi, Aziz Behich, Josip Skoko (Sibon 51'), Nick Kalmar, Adrian Zahra
Subs - Peter Zois (gk), Alex Terra (35'), Gerald Sibon (51'), Dean Heffernan (64')