Adelaide United have blown a golden opportunity after surrendering a three-goal lead in the final 30 minutes to draw 3-3 with Sydney FC at Frank Mitchell Park in blustery conditions on Saturday.
The Reds raced to an early lead inside the opening minute as they battled strong winds when striker John Karatzas capped off a counter-attacking move before Thomas Briscoe coolly slotted in a second just prior to half-time.
Karatzas doubled his account in the 54th minute with a strong header but Sydney gave themselves a sniff when Alex Urosevski pulled one back just past the hour mark.
Urosevski proved a handful for United and fired in a second before Jared Lum's penalty rounded a frenetic action-packed second-half and rescued a point for the Sky Blues.
Adelaide midfielder Jacob Melling was also sent off to add to the late drama.
Adelaide took just 53 seconds to open the scoring when they broke on the counter and converted through Karatzas.
Liam Wooding was fed just outside the box where he had time to tease Sydney's defence before threading in Karatzas who took a touch and feinted to shoot before blasting into the net.
Fourteen minutes were on the clock before Daniel Petkovski finally dug out Sydney's first chance of the match.
The 19-year-old skipped past numerous Reds defenders before delivering a teasing cross against the wind to Jordan Figon, but the striker could not finish.
Chris Naumoff should have equalised for the Sky Blues in the 22nd minute after a timely interception by defender Robert Speranza ricocheted into his path with only Reds goalkeeper John Hall to beat.
But the midfielder could not beat the custodian who spread his body well to block the effort.
Wooding's trickery upfront was panicking the visitors and the Australian U-20 representative almost made it count on 29 minutes, only to be denied by the woodwork when his stunning free-kick struck the bar.
The woodwork was playing just as much of a role as the wind was when Urosevski's curling strike also thundered off the bar.
United eventually added a second when Briscoe made no mistake from close range after finding himself at the drop of the ball following a knock-down.
Briscoe could have extended the home side's advantage immediately after the break but Sydney substitute keeper Ryan Norval made a routine save.
Karatzas wouldn’t make the same mistake as his team-mate when he struck a powerful header into the net following Wooding's dangerous corner on 54 minutes to seemingly put the game beyond Sydney's reach.
The Sky Blues were lucky not to fall further behind on the hour mark when Wooding was gifted an empty net to fire into after the ball sprayed loose following Norval and Karatzas' collision, but the 19-year-old could not capitalise.
With Sydney pushing forward in droves, Urosevski scored his first with half an hour remaining to ignite the visitors and ensure for a tight finish.
Sydney's surge gathered momentum when Urosevski scored again to stun Adelaide with a sublime angled finish after intelligent chest control to bring the ball to ground level.
Adelaide's nightmare capitulation was brought to an end on 87 minutes when Melling was shown a second yellow for handling in the box, giving Sydney and Lum the chance to equalise.
Lum kept his cool to finish sweetly and earn the visitors a point.
Adelaide United 3 (Karatzas 1, 54, Briscoe 42)
Sydney FC 3 (Urosevski 65, 71, Lum 87)
Adelaide United: 1. John Hall (gk) (Paul Izzo (gk) 65), 2. Shaun Harvey, 4. Jacob Melling, 5. Jake Monaco, 6. Scott Nagel, 7. Liam Wooding (c), 8. Thomas Briscoe (11. Nathan Kostandopoulos 61), 9. John Karatzas, 10. Dion Kirk, 14. Awer Mabil, 16. Osama Malik (15. Sasa Zekanovic 60)
Sydney FC: 20. Anthony Bouzanis (gk) (1. Ryan Norval (gk) 45), 2. Keifer Dotti (8. Luke Jenner), 3.Aaron Calver, 4. Robert Speranza (17. Theo Kofinas 45), 5. Daniel Petkovski 6. Hagi Gligor (c), 9. Jordan Figon (15. Luke Clifford 58), 10. Christopher Naumoff, 11. Tom Slater, 14. Jared Lum, 16. Alex Urosevski