Adelaide United was unhinged by Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor in a heated 2-2 draw in Wednesday's AFC Champions League quarter-final first leg.
The Reds squandered a two-goal lead on their home turf at Hindmarsh Stadium and face an uphill taks to stay in the competition.
Adelaide, with goals to Iain Ramsay and Evan Kostopoulos, dominated the Uzbek champion early but the tide turned when Reds defender Nigel Boogaard was sent off just before halftime.
Bunyodkor scored from the resulting free kick and equalised against a flagging 10-man Adelaide in the second half to bank precious away goals before the return bout in Tashkent on 3 October.
Ramsay and Kostopoulos scored in the initial 18 minutes as Adelaide took command against a seemingly brittle Bunyodkor.
Ramsay's opportunistic seventh-minute strike came after Dario Vidosic mis-timed a shot, the ball rolling across the goal face - Adelaide's left winger pounced and pushed a sliding left-footer into the net.
His 22-year-old teammate Kostopoulos logged his first goal for the Reds in an official match some 11 minutes later when a corner fell at his feet.
Kostopoulos's initial shot was blocked but the ball rebounded to gift him a second chance - and he took it with a swift left boot.
But Bunyodkor's fortunes changed when Adelaide's Boogaard was marched in the 42nd minute.
Boogard fell behind in a foot-race with forward Murzoev Kamoliddin as they chased a dangerous Bunyodkor long ball which neared Adelaide's penalty area.
The Reds defender pulled at Kamoliddin's right arm, causing the Bunyodkor attacker to fall.
And from the ensuing free kick, Jasur Khasanov expertly curled a 25-metre left-footer into the top right corner of the net.
Adelaide lost its lead in the 75th minute when Shavkat Salomov scored when the ball inexplicably passed through Iain Fyfe's legs, allowing the Bunyodkor substitute to score from less than a metre out.
Adelaide assistant coach Michael Valkanis said Boogard's sending off "changed the complexion of the game".
"We had played extremely good, attacking football and possibly could have had four or five goals," he said.
"It (Boogard's red card) changed our whole game plan."
But Valkanis said the Reds would remain positive heading to the Tashkent for the return.
"It's still on for us going over there ... we have got to try and win the game," he said.
Bunyodkor coach Mirdjalal Kasimov agreed that Boogard's red card was a game-changer.
"The red card was a help for us," he said.
"Of course it is a plus that we scored two goals but it doesn't mean we can relax in Tashkent."
AFC Champions League
The Central Coast Mariners have already shown they can match Guangzhou Evergrande in terms of performance, but will need to do it again on Wednesday to have any chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League.