Sale suffered their first home league defeat of the season in a heart-breaking 12-11 defeat to Gloucester in the Premiership on Friday.
Danny Cipriani and Greig Laidlaw each traded two penalties in the first-half in what was a fair reflection as both sides could not exert enough pressure or dominance over the other one.
In the second half, Sale scored the only try of the game through hooker Trevor Leota. However two Laidlaw penalties were enough to secure the win for the Cherry and Whites.
Sale went into this game knowing a win would keep their hopes of a Champions Cup place alive. But, it was Gloucester who opened the scoring from the ever reliable boot of Laidlaw, who started at fly-half for the Cherry and Whites in the absence of James Hook. On his final home game in front of the Sale fans, Cipriani opened his account for the evening from the tee.
The battle of the boot in the first half continued with Laidlaw re-establishing Gloucester's three point lead on the half hour mark. However, with the last kick of the first half, Cipriani levelled the scores with another penalty of his own taking the score to 6-6 as the players headed into the changing rooms.
After a scoreless 15 minutes, Sale scored the first try of the game on 55 minutes through Leota after 16 phases of play from the home side. A third penalty from Laidlaw reduced Sale's lead to ten points as the game entered the final ten minutes.
With 3 minutes to go, Laidlaw kicked is fourth penalty to give Gloucester a 12-11 lead. Sale piled on the pressure in the closing moments but failed to break the visitors' defence.
The win means Gloucester join Montpellier as the only other side to come away from the AJ Bell Stadium with a win this season.
Pens: Cipriani 2
Pens: Laidlaw 4
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Rob Cook, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Nick Wood, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Lewis Ludlow
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Simon McConnell
TMO: Stuart Terheege