After getting off to a flyer with two goals in the first 20 minutes, Adelaide United went a man down before half-time and Bunyodkor made the most of that to earn a 2-2 draw.
|By CHRISTIAN MAMMONE
Adelaide United have blown an early two-goal lead and had to settle for a 2-2 draw in their AFC Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash with FC Bunyodkor at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday night.
Adelaide looked in for a big night in front of goals when they slotted two inside the opening 20 minutes courtesy of winger Iain Ramsay and striker Evan Kostopoulos.
However a red card to defender Nigel Boogaard, which ultimately resulted in a classy free-kick finish from Bunyodkor attacker Kamoliddim Murzoev, put the hosts on the back foot and reduced their lead as half-time approached.
The visitors exploited the extra man advantage as they netted shortly after the restart via Shavkat Salomov to take a vital two away goals back home to Uzbekistan for the return leg on October 3.
Adelaide wasted no time in opening their account in the seventh minute when Ramsay pounced on a miscued shot from marquee midfielder Dario Vidosic.
A Bruce Djite knock down fell kindly to Vidosic but he dragged his effort well wide, only for Ramsay to steer the wayward shot into the net.
The goal intensified the Reds' hunger as they piled forward and almost doubled their tally 10 minutes later through home-grown hero Fabian Barbiero.
Making his 100th appearance for the Reds, Barbiero found room on the edge of the visitors' area to hook a dangerous curling shot towards goal that produced a fingertip save from Bunyodkor 'keeper Ignatiy Nesterov.
The home side were not to be denied from the resulting corner, however, when talented striker Kostopoulos stabbed home a loose ball - twice - as Bunyodkor captain Viktor Karpenko tried in vain to keep the ball out despite it having already crossed the line.
Comfortably in the lead, Adelaide turned to party tricks with a free-kick they received 20 yards from goal in the 27th minute.
Ramsay cheekily flicked the ball up to Vidosic who struck a fierce dipping shot that required another fingertip save from Nesterov.
Djite then joined in on the show moments later when he rose highest from a corner but his powerful header cannoned off the bar.
Adelaide were cruising until a neat through ball from Bunyodkor's midfield caught the defence napping and ultimately cost the hosts a man, and a goal, on the stroke of half-time.
Bunyodkor midfielder Murzoev broke through on goal with Boogaard nipping at his heels before the Reds defender pulled down the 25-year-old attempting to jostle for position inches from United's penalty box.
Referee Abdullah Mohamed Al Hilali didn't hesitate, showing Boogaard a straight red for his last-ditch intervention.
Visiting midfielder Jasur Khasanov then hit a top-shelf free-kick from the foul into the right-hand apex of the goal much to the chagrin of an incensed Hindmarsh crowd and crash Adelaide's party.
Bunyodkor started the second half spritely and almost equalised immediately when Murzoev squared a pass to Lutfulla Turaev just beyond the six-yard box, but he was denied point blank by a reaction stop from Reds captain Eugene Galekovic.
Galekovic again came to his side's rescue on 58 minutes when his flailing arm blocked Turaev who found himself in a one-on-one situation with the Reds custodian.
Towering Slovakian midfielder Jan Kozak could have punished the hosts from the resulting corner when he found himself free in acres of space but he blasted well over.
An equaliser looked likely and it eventually came on 75 minutes when a tame cross from Bunyodkor winger Khasanov snuck past Reds duo Daniel Bowles and Iain Fyfe and rolled to the feet of Bunyodkor substitute Salomov who tapped in the gift.
The hosts turned to their bench in a bid to claw back the lead when Argentine import Jeronimo Neumann was introduced in the 81st minute.
The silky attacker wasted no time in winning over the home faithful jinking his way past two Bunyodkor defenders before slashing a shot at Nesterov who was equal to the task as the Reds were left to rue a disappointing draw.