Sydney FC's chances of catching A-League leaders Perth have almost certainly ended after being held 1-1 by local rivals Western Sydney.
The Sky Blues took the lead in the seventh minute on Saturday night when skipper Alex Brosque pounced on a through ball from Anthony Caceres and fired a superb shot home from the edge of the area at ANZ Stadium.
It was Brosque's sixth derby goal, but he collected a heel injury in the follow through from the shot and had no further impact before being replaced at halftime.
The Wanderers equalised 12 minutes into the second half when Alexander Baumjohann's free-kick from just outside the penalty area deflected off Sydney striker Adam Le Fondre into the net.
The Wanderers, winning just one of their past 17 league and cup Sydney derbies, created most of the clear-cut chances in the game, although the Sky Blues had a good share of play and some opportunities near the end of a typically frantic derby.
The result moves second-placed Sydney to within five points of the Glory, who will clinch the Premiers Plate if they beat Newcastle on Sunday at home.
"I would have liked to make more ground up on Perth, just to put as little bit of pressure on towards the last couple of games," said coach Steve Corica, whose Sydney side host the Glory next Thursday.
Corica admitted his players felt the pinch in the second half, with all but three of his starters backing up just three days after a demanding Asian Champions League game.
"I think Wednesday took a lot out of them mentally as well," Corica said.
"You could see in the second half the boys looked a little bit tired but the effort was there. They pushed right until the end to try and get a winner."
The best chance to break the deadlock came when unmarked Wanderers striker Oriol Riera headed against a post from five metres out, while Raul Llorente and Giancarlo Gallifuoco also went close for the home side.
In stoppage time, Vedran Janjetovic tipped away a fine Le Fondre strike, and substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad and Aaron Calver also had good chances earlier for the visitors.
"I'm very proud of my team because they put a lot of energy in the game,' Wanderers' coach Markus Babbel said.
"Did tactically many things right and they deserved a point, even deserved normally a bit more."
After Brosque's goal, almost all of the first-half chances fell to the Wanderers' Mitch Duke, with set-piece specialist Baumjohann the architect on most occasions.
Duke had two shots saved by Andrew Redmayne, another blocked by Josh Brillante and he also headed wide.
Brillante was just off target with a powerful long-range shot early in the second half, but the Wanderers created most of the chances in the next half hour.
Australian Associated Press