Premiership: Sale Sharks 30-29 Harlequins
|Sale (17) 30|
|Tries: McGuigan, van Rensburg 2 Cons: MacGinty 2, de Klerk Pens: MacGinty 2, de Klerk|
|Harlequins (22) 29|
|Tries: Alofa, Walker, R Chisholm, Roberts Cons: Smith 3 Pens: Smith|
Faf de Klerk's late penalty helped Sale take advantage of Joe Marler's red card to edge a tight game with Harlequins.
England prop Marler received a straight red for a dangerous clear-out of a ruck with more than 20 minutes remaining.
After scores from Alofa Alofa, Charlie Walker and Ross Chisholm, Wales' Jamie Roberts scored Quins' bonus-point try.
Sale replied with two tries from Rohan Janse van Rensburg after Byron McGuigan's first-half score before de Klerk had the final say with the boot.
McGuigan's eighth try of the season gave Sale an early lead before Will Addison and Ben Curry combined well to send van Rensburg over for his first score of the day.
Harlequins fought back well but Sale's extra man advantage from the 58th minute onwards helped earn their sixth win of the season to remain firmly in the group of teams chasing the top four.
Harlequins looked to be heading for just their second away win in the Premiership since March after Roberts pounced on a charge-down kick to score Quins' bonus-point try and put the visitors 29-20 ahead with 12 minutes remaining.
But Marler's dismissal eventually proved decisive as Sale converted persistent pressure when van Rensburg exploited a gap to score before de Klerk nudged Sale ahead with four minutes remaining.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"They don't give reds unless they're needed. That's the part of the game we need to take out, where someone's defenceless and you can knock them with your shoulder.
"It looks like a serious knee injury to AJ MacGinty. We'll whip him off to hospital and have a look at it but he fell in our hour of need, so to speak.
"He was defending really well, got us into a good position and I'm sorry to see him get injured but we'll look after him - he'll come back."
Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston:
"This is not an isolated punch, stamp or kick by Joe Marler. It's a clear-out that's not legal. He's taken somebody out without using his arm.
"He will be unbelievably disappointed and upset about the whole thing because he was having an unbelievable game as well.
"Everybody in the ground probably recognises that Harlequins were the better team over the course of the 80 minutes, so it's a very hard result to take."
Sale: O'Connor; Solomona, James, van Rensburg, McGuigan; MacGinty, De Klerk; Harrison, Webber, John, Evans, Ostrikov, Neild, Curry, Ross (capt).
Replacements: Jones, Flynn, Aulika, Nott, Ioane, Cliff, Haley, Addison.
Harlequins: R Chisholm; Walker, Alofa, Roberts, Visser; Smith, Care; Marler, Ward (capt), Sinckler, Merrick, Glynn, J Chisholm, Robshaw, Luamanu.
Replacements: Elia, Boyce, Swainston, Matthews, Bothma, Kitto, Lang, Cheeseman.
Red card: Marler (58)
Referee: Matthew Carley.