|By DAMIEN SOUNESS
Adelaide United have bowed out of the AFC Champions League following a heartbreaking 3-2 extra-time loss to Bunyodkor in the second leg of their quarter-final in Tashkent on Wednesday.
Bunyodkor twice came from behind to level the scores in normal time before Alibobo Rakhmatullaev headed home the winner in the 114th minute, sending the Uzbek side through to the semi-finals 5-4 on aggregate.
Adelaide, who were held to a 2-2 draw at home in the first leg on September 19, ended the match with only nine men following the dismissals of Fabian Barbiero and Iain Fyfe, while Anvar Gafurov was sent off for Bunyodkor.
Iain Ramsay opened the scoring for the visitors after just three minutes before Lutfulla Turayev levelled proceedings before half-time.
Substitute Jeronimo Neumann handed Adelaide the lead again after the break, but the advantage was short-lived as Akmal Shorakhmedov forced the contest into extra time with an equaliser.
Adelaide coach John Kosmina made two changes to the side that drew in Adelaide, with Jon McKain replacing the suspended Nigel Boogaard in defence and Sergio van Dijk coming in for Bruce Djite up front.
Bunyodkor were stunned early when Ramsay fired a low shot from the edge of the penalty area that silenced the raucous crowd.
The home team sprung into action soon after, dominating possession and stretching the Adelaide defence repeatedly.
Galekovic, however, was outstanding, making a series of crucial saves to deny Kamoliddin Murzoev and captain Victor Karpenko, as Adelaide came under siege from the Bunyodkor forwards.
Bunyodkor continued to attack and were rewarded in the 20th minute when Turayev was found unmarked in the penalty box and headed home a Karpenko cross.
The hosts looked increasingly dangerous but were unable to grab the lead as Galekovic continued to stand tall towards the end of the half.
Bunyodkor picked up where they left off in the second half, peppering the goal as Adelaide's frustrations began to show.
Daniel Bowles, who struggled to contain Jasur Khasanov on the left flank, was booked for pulling his opponent's shirt, while Barbiero caused tension with a crude challenge from behind.
Jeronimo replaced Evan Kostopoulos in the 63rd minute and made an immediate impact against the run of play.
The Argentine, who was selected only because of an injury to countryman Marcelo Carrusca, handed Adelaide the most unlikely of advantages with a delicate finish that beat Bunyodkor goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov.
Cruelly, it was a Galekovic mistake that allowed Shorakhmedov to equalise in the 73rd minute.
Shorakhmedov pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box, striking the ball low and through the arms of Galekovic, who watched it trickle over the line.
Murzoev then had Galekovic beaten with a stunning overhead kick, only for his shot to cannon off the crossbar.
Barbiero picked up his second caution for a rash challenge in the 89th minute, reducing Adelaide to 10 men for the second time in the tie after Boogaard was dismissed in the first leg.
Gafurov was booked for the second time following a challenge on Dario Vidosic in the opening stages of extra-time, cutting Bunyodkor down to 10 men and giving Adelaide added hope.
But Bunyodkor claimed the lead with just six minutes to go when Rakhmatullaev headed past Galekovic, ruling out the prospect of a penalty shootout.
Adelaide went down to nine men in the dying stages when Fyfe was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Bunyodkor will face either Saudi Arabian outfit Al Hilal or South Korean team Ulsan for a place in the final.