Crusaders skipper Ryan Crotty admitted his side "let one get away" after going down 30-25 to the 14-man Sharks on Saturday.
Despite a red card to Jean Deysel and, a yellow for Willem Alberts temporarily reducing the visitors to 13 players, but the Crusaders were not able to breach the fantastic rearguard action.
"We let one get away there," Crotty told Sky Sports. "They did well to slow the game down and they played smart and we didn't execute as well as we should have. It's disappointing.
"Discipline definitely let us down at times. Silly penalties especially when we got in front and we let them back in.
"I think concentration lapses (hurt us) as well. You switch off for a moment and they strike."
Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis admitted the red card to Deysel brought his side closer together, with the net result being a four point lead atop the overall standings.
"A red card that early in the game just brings the team so much closer to each other," said du Plessis. "Everybody talked so much that it made my job easier when we got the red card.
"I'm really proud for the guys and especially for Jannie (du Plessis) and Beast (Tendai Mtawarira) playing their 100th games. It's very emotional for us. We've been here and we've come close but we've never won here so it's a big thing for us."