Just one point separated the sides in Hamilton, with Damian McKenzie's late penalty sending the Chiefs into second place.
Damian McKenzie scored a last-gasp penalty as the Chiefs came from behind to edge out the Crusaders 26-25 and move second in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
McKenzie was on supreme form with the boot throughout Saturday's contest in Hamilton, and he proved decisive from 35 metres with three minutes remaining.
It was a different story for Richie Mo'unga, who missed what should have been an easy conversion from a Codie Taylor try early in the second half.
Mo'unga's mistake enabled the Chiefs to capitalise – Jonah Lowe crossing over in the corner to set the stage for McKenzie's winning penalty.
Lachlan Boshier also went over for the hosts, with McKenzie having kicked all nine of their points in the first half.
Tries from Leicester Fainga'anuku and Will Jordan had propelled the top-of-the-table Crusaders to a 17-9 half-time lead, but indiscipline in the closing stages cost them. With four straight wins under their belts, the Chiefs are second on 16 points, ahead of the Blues and the Highlanders.