Lions coach Warren Gatland, who was mocked as a clown in the New Zealand media earlier this week, was delighted to see his team level the series.
All Blacks boss Steve Hansen had rubbed opposite number Gatland's nose in it after his side's win in the first Test.
The former policeman shot out: "I always find it amusing when teams say they are going to beat us up in the tight-five," in lording it over old rival and fellow Kiwi Gatland.
The tourists' boss then appeared to wave the white flag in the mind games, not least when responding to the New Zealand Herald depicting him as a clown - for the second time in six months - but he was in decidedly upbeat form after today's victory.
"I am a happy clown this week," Gatland joked.
"It is great to tie the series up and we go to Auckland with everything to play for. Even with the red card, we were the better team, deserved to win and played some good rugby."
Gatland knows the Lions have plenty to work on to test the All Blacks again next week, especially after seeing them concede 13 penalties.
Beau Barrett kicked seven of them, contributing all 21 of New Zealand's points, but second-half tries from Toby Faletau and Conor Murray proved crucial for the Lions.
"We gave away some soft penalties which is disappointing and something we need to fix for next week," Gatland added.
"It is a strange game, isn't it? Normally with those sort of stats the All Blacks win by 20 or 30 points, so for us to be in the game...
"I thought we scored a couple of lovely tries, which was nice, and some of the decision-making on the ball was excellent.
"Some of our kicking wasn't the best tonight and gives us a lot to work on next week."
then poked the Lions once too often with his taunts about physicality after New Zealand's first Test victory.
The ruse fooled everyone - even the All Blacks. Because the Lions boss was not shell-shocked, and his men not beaten and bested.
Battered yes, but not cowed - and the tourists then spent the week bashing lumps out of each other in a bid to restore their physical acumen.