Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat labelled the SCG pitch "unsafe" after star Terry Antonis suffered a suspected knee injury in the Big Blue.
Antonis limped off midway through the second half of Saturday's 2-1 A-League loss to Sydney FC after innocuously slumping to the turf away from the action.
Replays later showed Antonis appeared to have collapsed on the edge of a re-laid square in the middle of the ground.
Muscat was unable to provide an early diagnosis on Antonis' injury and was reluctant to make excuses over his team's performance.
But he was scathing in his assessment of the surface, which broadcasters suggested was partially raised at the spot where Antonis went down.
"In the middle it was ridiculously hard, and unsafe as far as I'm concerned," Muscat said. "For players to go out onto that, whatever it's called, is a disgrace."
Any potential lay-off for Antonis would only exacerbate a heartbreaking defeat after Victory conceded a Milos Ninkovic winner in added time.
Ninkovic latched onto a Siem de Jong low cross in the 93rd minute, and his shot ricocheted off a Victory defender before bouncing past keeper Matthew Acton.
The win leaves the Sky Blues in pole position to claim the all-important second spot, lifting them four points clear of third-placed Victory.
It also reduces the gap between them and first-placed Perth to three points with three games remaining, although the Glory have a game in hand.
Ninkovic's winner came in front of the 14,155 crowd after Kosta Barbarouses cancelled out Brandon O'Neill's opener in an entertaining first half.
But what promised to be an enthralling finish between the arch rivals fizzled into a dour affair after the break, until Antonis' injury and Ninkovic's late heroics.
Sydney FC had most of the early running, and almost had the lead minutes into the match when Adam Le Fondre's chip hit the crossbar.
But it didn't take long for the home side to be rewarded for their daring play, symbolised by O'Neill's audacious long range effort in the sixth minute.
The holding midfielder was 23m from goal when he received a cutback from Anthony Caceres before driving past the outstretched hand of Acton.
Sydney FC's desire to push the tempo also opened the door for Victory to counter, and Keisuke Honda made them pay with his set-up for Barbarouses.
His through ball split two defenders and left the Victory marksman one-on-one with Andrew Redmayne, who was flat-footed by Barbarouses' chip.
The goal extended Barbarouses' blazing run to a remarkable 10 goals in 11 games, but the visitors were unable to finish a number of opportunities in the second period.
"It's pleasing to get three points. We deserved the win. It's good to beat them," Sydney FC coach Steve Corica said.