Sydney FC have blown a golden opportunity to secure a foothold in their Asian Champions League group as they surrendered the lead three times in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday night.
The Sky Blues' ACL hopes are still alive despite dropping more points to the Chinese giants at Kogarah.
They looked on track for a vital three points when Alex Brosque came off the bench to give Sydney a 3-2 lead with six minutes remaining.
But Brazilian striker Elkeson broke Sydney's hearts in what will have felt like a loss as their excellent performance deserved much more.
Siem de Jong gave Sydney the lead in front of another small crowd at Jubilee Stadium inside three minutes.
It was their first goal in this season's tournament as Reza Ghoochannejhad broke down the right before checking onto his left foot and steering a hopeful cross to the back stick. A poor defensive header allowed de Jong to strike, with his deflected effort putting the Sky Blues in front.
With Socceroos and former Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold and FFA boss David Gallop watching on, Lu Wenjun equalised for the Chinese champions on 27 minutes.
Former Chelsea midfielder Oscar teased in a perfect cross with Wenjun glancing his header from beyond the penalty spot past an outstretched Andrew Redmayne in off the far post.
Sydney FC took back the lead on the half hour mark when they were gifted a penalty after He Guan was adjudged to handle the ball in his own penalty area.
English striker Adam Le Fondre smashed his spot kick home emphatically, high down the middle into the roof of the net to put the Sky Blues 2-1 in front.
But back came Shanghai as they drew level eight minutes before half-time. Brazilian international Hulk produced four step overs before dinking a cross into Yu Hai who flicked his header past Redmayne.
A pulsating first half came to an end with chances at both ends as Daniel De Silva deflected a Le Fondre shot onto the post before Oscar forced a tidy save from Redmayne.
It was one of the best halves of football played in Australia this season, with Sydney's brave performance showing their ability on the big stage as they took the game to their opponents.
Sydney coach Steve Corica made two changes on 63 minutes bringing on Paulo Retre and Milos Ninkovic for Michael Zullo and de Jong.
Both sides traded chances before Brosque looked to have given Sydney their first win in their last seven ACL home matches and one of their best victories in Asia.
Retre's quick throw-in allowed the excellent Le Fondre to break down the left. The striker checked back to cross for Ghoochannejhad who should have scored with his header from six yards, only for Yan Junling to save. But substitute Brosque was there to turn in the rebound and appear to condemn Shanghai to their fourth consecutive loss in Australia.
But for the third time Sydney were unable to hold onto their lead.
Oscar mugged Josh Brillante of possession in the middle of the park and broke down field before playing in Elkeson, who fired his finish high past Redmayne to make it 3-all in the 89th minute.
Of their 15 home ACL matches, the Sky Blues have now drawn nine of them and remain bottom of group H. Sydney FC face the return trip to Shanghai in a fortnight, desperately needing a win to keep their ACL campaign alive.
The Sky Blues return to Kogarah to face Perth Glory in the A-League on Thursday night.
Sydney FC 3 (Siem de Jong '3, Adam Le Fondre '30p, Alex Brosque '84)
Shanghai SIPG 3 (Lü Wenjun '27, Yu Hai '37, Elkeson '89)
at Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah
Leader man of the match: Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC)