Replacement hooker Corne Fourie scored two tries as the Lions defeated an ill-disciplined Stormers 26-23 in their Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday.
The Stormers had wing Raymond Rhule red-carded after 50 minutes and two more players sent to the sin-bin as their horror seasons continued with another defeat.
For the Lions, it is a much-needed win as they seek to keep Argentina's Jaguares at bay at the top of the South African Conference; they now have a six-point lead having played one more game.
Scrum-half Nic Groom and wing Madosh Tambwe scored the other tries for the Lions, while No. 9 Dewaldt Duvenage and Rhule crossed for the home side.
An excellent take in the air from fullback Dillyn Leyds set up the opening try for the Stormers, with Duvenage burrowing over under the posts.
Both sides lost players to what looked like serious knee injuries inside the opening eight minutes, with lock Chris van Zyl forced off for the home side and the Lions losing hooker Robbie Coetzee -- the latter replaced by converted prop Fourie, with regular hooking option Malcolm Marx sidelined by injury.
Stormers fly-half Jean-Luc du Plessis slotted a penalty awarded for offside in front of the posts as the home side extended their advantage to 10 points at the 20-minute mark, but the Lions hit back almost immediately.
After twice turning down the opportunity for three points, a massive gap in the home defence opened up ahead of Groom at a maul and he cantered over for the try.
The Stormers scored again after two excellent scrums five metres from the Lions' line, the hosts spreading the ball wide with a penalty advantage in their favour and wing Craig Barry's chipped kick was perfect for Rhule to score in the corner.
The Stormers lost centre JJ Englebrecht to a yellow card four minutes before halftime, after a tip-tackle on Lions fullback Andries Coetzee, and they missed a penalty through Du Plessis on the stroke of the break to take a 17-7 lead into the interval.
The Lions dominated the start of the second half, both in terms of possession and territory, but they were losing the battle at the breakdown as the Stormers won a number of penalties on the floor.
Shortly after Englebrecht returned to the field, the Stormers lost Rhule to a red card on 50 minutes after he jumped into the path of the Lions' Ruan Combrinck, his elbow making contact with the head of his fellow Springboks wing.
The Stormers then were desperately lucky to avoid another red card when Engelbrecht was penalised for cleaning out at the ruck around the neck of a Lions player. The incident warranted a second yellow, which would have been converted to a red, but it was not given by New Zealand referee Nick Briant.
The Lions did manage to score from the set-piece as Fourie showed great strength to power his way over, though fly-half Elton Jantjies missed the very kickable conversion.
The Stormers lost another player on the hour-mark, with Jaco Coetzee executing a late tackle just 90 seconds after taking to the field.
Fourie took advantage again as he barged his way over the line at the back of a driving maul for his second score. This time Jantjies was able to land the conversion and the Lions led by two points.
Still two men worse off, the Stormers took the ball through the phases and earned a penalty in front of the posts that saw then regain the lead with 14 minutes remaining.
That lead was extended to four points when Du Plessis added another penalty as the Lions were penalised at the scrum, but the visitors bagged a fourth try as Tambwe crossed in the corner. Jantjies landed the conversion from the touchline.