If Melbourne City misses the W-League finals this season, Friday night’s loss to Brisbane Roar will be cited as the one that got away.
A dominant City missed a penalty and a handful of sitters but were caught out on the counter attack by striker Chioma Ubogagu to lose 1-0 and leave their finals hope hanging by a thread.
Matildas star Elise Kellond-Knight missed a penalty just after the break against her former side, while winger Rhali Dobson struck the crossbar from point-blank range and Amy Jackson hit the upright.
Starting one point ahead, the win lifts Roar to second while City is in sixth, two points behind fourth and fifth-placed Sydney FC and Adelaide United, with only two games left.
City completed almost three times more passes than Roar and had 21 shots on goal, but somehow failed to score in a frustrating afternoon at AAMI Park.
With Tameka Butt bossing the midfield against her former side and Steph Catley causing problems in advanced positions, City should have led at the break.
Dobson should have put City ahead, but struck the crossbar from point-blank range.
City dusted themselves off and returning striker Jasmyne Spencer earnt a penalty after a bump from Jenna McCormick, perhaps influenced by her AFLW stints with Adelaide Crows.
But Kellond-Knight sent her penalty well wide of the left upright, giving Roar hope.
Yukari Kinga and Spencer almost bundled over the line in a scramble, before substitute Amy Jackson struck upright with deflected shot moments after coming on.
As City pushed for the goal that would have lifted them into the top four, England international Ubogagu received the ball in space and cut inside Kinga before striking it past Lydia Williams.
Jackson sent a late header over the crossbar with the final whistle leaving City players deflating, knowing their dreams of a four-peat are fading.
W-LEAGUE ROUND 11
MELBOURNE CITY 0
BRISBANE ROAR 1 (Ubogagu 74)