Derry City keep their slim hopes of Europa League progression alive after an enthralling 4-2 defeat by Trabzonspor in the pouring rain in Turkey.
Quick-fire goals from Adrian Mierzejewski and Paulo Henrique put the Turkish Super Lig side into a commanding early lead before David McDaid and Paddy Kavanagh drew Derry level with counter-attacking strikes.
Barry Molloy's own goal, and Giray Kacar’s second-half header ensured the hosts ran out deserving winners, but the League of Ireland club will take heart from their two away goals.
Declan Devine's men were undone in little more than 15 minutes in Turkey, and had only themselves to blame for the 2-0 deficit.
In the 10th minute, neat link-up play from the Turkish outfit saw Olcan Adin escape the back four, and his powerful near-post effort was palmed away by Gerard Doherty.
With the ball bobbling in the six-yard area, Barry McNamee’s attempted headed clearance fell meekly for Polish international Mierzejewksi, whose spectacular bicycle kick evaded desperate City attempts to clear.
Six minutes later, the six-time Turkish champions doubled their lead through Paulo Henrique, this time Doherty at fault.
Adin was allowed too much time by the visitors to take a shot from 20 yards, but the tame effort that followed was inexplicably spilled into the path of the Brazilian to gratefully tap home.
After a quarter-hour, Devine and his men would, and should, have thought a long night was on the cards.
Fast forward another 15 minutes and the Brandywell side, and their handful of travelling fans, were in dreamland.
First, McDaid pounced on a sloppy pass from Gustavo Colman on the halfway line, beat Kacar and lashed a brilliant effort into the bottom left-hand corner.
Unbelievably, Derry were level in the 32nd minute when Barry Molloy broke from defence and played a lovely ball forward to Kavanagh, who cut inside and this time beat Onur Kivrak at his near post.
The first half was not finished there, as the hosts struck again to lead 3-2, Derry’s defensive frailties again painfully obvious for all to see.
The impressive Adin whipped in a free-kick from the left-hand side, and captain Molloy could only head past the already committed Doherty.
After having a Henrique header ruled out for offside less than a minute after the break, Trabzonspor restored their two-goal cushion after 51 minutes.
Mierzejewksi’s corner found centre-half Kacar completely unmarked in the Derry area, the Turk making no mistake with his header.
As the Turkish side pushed for a fifth, McDaid had a chance to reduce the arrears after 64 minutes, but his shot was straight at Kivrak.
Substitute Ryan McBride fired narrowly wide in stoppage time as Derry maintained an outside chance of overturning the deficit in next week’s return tie at the Brandywell.