Iain Henderson's late yellow card proved costly as the British and Irish Lions suffered a collapse and had to settle for a 31-31 draw against the Hurricanes.
The Ireland forward had been sensational all over the field in the opening 65 minutes in Wellington and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a second-half try, but his trip to the sin bin was pivotal.
A dangerous tackle on Jordie Barrett saw him punished and the Canes took full advantage to deny the Lions - who led 23-7 at the break and by 14 points when Henderson left the field - a morale-boosting victory.
There had been so much for Lions coach Warren Gatland to be pleased with - his side having lost the opening Test 30-15 against New Zealand - as Tommy Seymour scored two impressive tries and George North also touched down, while Dan Biggar kicked superbly.
However, the tourists were unable to hold on with 14 men as Wes Goosen and Vaea Fifita snatched a draw in a storming finish.
-- British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 27, 2017
After a scrappy start the Lions opened scoring in the 10th minute as Biggar kicked the first of his 16 points with a close-range penalty.
The tourists then profited from a loose Canes pass after a superb tackle from Seymour, Greig Laidlaw intercepting and racing into the opposition half before offloading to Seymour, who raced in for his first try.
Gatland's men continued to apply scoreboard pressure through the accurate Biggar, but the Hurricanes were still posing a threat - Otere Black, Ngani Laumape and Nehe Milner-Skudder able to break the defensive line.
Turning that territory into a try proved tough, though, as the Lions defended resolutely, but just before the half-hour mark Callum Gibbins burrowed his way through two tackles to give the Canes some joy.
Any momentum from the hosts was halted on the brink of half time as Leigh Halfpenny - an early replacement for Robbie Henshaw - challenged Milner-Skudder to a high ball from Biggar's up-and-under.
The ball dropped loose and was superbly collected by Henderson, the Ireland forward quickly finding North on his shoulder and the winger did the rest.
A 16-point lead at the break was cut in the opening minute of the second half as Vince Aso and Julian Savea combined to get Laumape in space, the centre powering through Biggar's challenge to score.
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi was then sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Jack Nowell from an offside position and the Lions capitalised, with Henderson key once again.
The lock found space in the midfield and charged for the line and, despite being held up, from a resulting scrum the Lions got the chance to spread the play.
Biggar's loop pass was quickly worked left by Nowell and Halfpenny for Seymour to double his tally, and moments later North thought he was joining the Scotland back on two tries, but a foot in touch denied him.
Henderson's excellent display was soured after his dangerous tackle on Barrett, and with an extra man replacement Goosen scored the Canes' third try.
Barrett brought the hosts within seven by kicking the conversion and with 10 minutes remaining they were level as Fifita launched himself over a ruck.
Great game. 31-31. #HURvBIL-- Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) June 27, 2017
The Lions could have snatched victory with a late Biggar drop goal, but in the end they were grateful to hang on for a draw after the Hurricanes gave their defensive qualities a stern examination.
"It's very frustrating," Lions captain Rory Best told Sky Sports. "They're the Super Rugby champions and a very good side.
"We'll look back at mistakes that let them back into it and we'll be very frustrated.
"Having said that, to build two leads like we did, at this stage of the season and tour, we've got to look at the positives as well.
"You cannot fault the effort, we just needed a bit of composure and to be a bit more clinical at times."
Henderson's spell in the sin bin came following a superb all-round display from the Ireland forward - one that must put him contention to face the All Blacks on Saturday.
He could be joined by Courtney Lawes after he impressed alongside Henderson in the second row, the England international conceding they knew they had to put in a big performance.
"There is so much competition in the second row. We knew we had to turn up tonight to have a shot at the weekend," said Lawes.
"I just enjoyed playing with the guys on this team. It's a shame not to get the win, but we put in a great performance."
Saturday sees the Lions take on the All Blacks in a must-win second Test in Wellington.