Auckland overcame a 14-point deficit to over-run the Wellington Lions 29-24 in their Mitre 10 Cup premiership match at Westpac Stadium on Thursday night.
The Lions looked like they were on track to bounce back from Saturday's loss to Tasman when they went ahead 24-10 but Auckland stormed back into the match late to score three unanswered tries.
The loss means the Lions are now in a battle with North Harbour for a spot in the semifinals with just one match to go - away to Taranaki in New Plymouth next week.
The Lions started the match well and enjoyed more than 70 per cent of territory in the first half.
However, they only had a 10-7 lead to show for it and could easily have gone into the break behind had it not been for some wonderful defence from captain Matt Proctor and wing Malo Tuitama who came up with a try saving tackle under the goal posts.
Things started well for the home side in the second half and were rewarded with excellent tries to Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Ben Lam but Auckland showed why they have only lost once in 2018 with some impressive counter attack to stretch the Lions to breaking point.
While the Lions pressed hard to win the match Auckland were able to control the ball and would the clock down.
Auckland 29 (Tumua Manu, TJ Faiane, Salesi Rayasi, Jordan Trainor tries; Harry Plummer 2 con, pen) Wellington 24 (Galu Taufale, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Ben Lam tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 con, pen). HT: 7-10.