The Brisbane Roar came from three goals behind at the interval to break AIS hearts and record a sensational 4-3 win in a match of two halves in Canberra on Saturday.
The dismissal of AIS defender Marc Ochieng with the home side 3-0 ahead minutes before half-time was the turning point as the Roar were able to utilise the extra man advantage in the second half with Matthew Thurtell grabbing a brace of late goals to seal the win.
It was the AIS who started the brighter as Todd Norris tested Roar goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers inside two minutes with a far post header that the visiting custodian did well to hold.
Dylan Smith was only just wide with a shot from outside the box with the very next attack as the pressure continued to build on the Brisbane goal as the Institute initially dictated the pace.
The Roar countered by creating a clear-cut chance for diminutive number nine Benjamin Litfin in the 12th minute and he should have done better than lob tamely over the bar with only Lucas Spinella to beat.
It took a piece of magic to break the deadlock as the AIS went in front on 26 minutes with an outstanding goal.
Full-back Rocco Pizzata started the move, playing a ball down the right which Ochieng dummied, allowing Steve Kuzmanovski to gain possession.
The winger took on his marker with a step over and turn of pace, hitting the by-line and pulling back a splendid cross to Marc Marino.
The striker still had plenty to do but leant backwards to bullet a header into the top corner.
With confidence flooding through the team the AIS doubled their lead three minutes later and it was Marino again who did the damage.
The livewire collected a precise pass in the channel and rifled a low shot from an angle that beat Chalmers.
And Marino almost had a hat-trick by half-time as he latched onto a loose ball and volleyed across goal, watching as the ball rolled agonisingly wide.
The home support did not have long to wait before they were on their feet again though as the AIS went 3-0 up before the break.
Another swashbuckling counter saw Anthony Kalik free Norris who unselfishly drew Chalmers and laid the ball on a plate for Smith to tap into the empty net.
A perfect half was soured close to the interval as Ochieng was sent off, receiving a second yellow card for an offence on halfway to leave the AIS with 10 men.
Brisbane needed something drastic to get back into the match and coach John Sime made three changes early in the second half.
It was one of these changes that paid dividends just before the hour.
Patrick Theodore, who had replaced Do Dong-Hyun, broke the AIS offside trap and coolly slipped the ball past Spinella to give the Roar hope.
Taking advantage of their numerical superiority, Brisbane continued to exert pressure on the AIS defence and gave themselves hope of at least a point with a well-crafted second goal 18 minutes from time.
Litfin found room inside the area to scoop a shot with the outside of his right foot past Spinella and into the top corner to make it 3-2 and set up a grandstand finale.
The comeback was complete nine minutes later as the Roar drew level in devastating fashion.
Using the space afforded to him by the tiring AIS midfield, Thurtell cut inside and unleashed a fierce shot that flew into the corner for 3-3.
Spinella had no chance with that one but was called upon to make a brace of stunning saves late on as the visitors looked for the winner.
And, with time running out, Thurtell scored, crashing in a stunning half-volley to settle an enthralling contest.
AIS 3 (Marc Marino 26, 29, Dylan Smith 39)
Brisbane Roar 4 (Patrick Theodore 58, Benjamin Litfin 71, Matthew Thurtell 80, 85)
AIS: 30. Lucas Spinella, 4. Ben Warland (9. Todd Norris 69’), 5. Matthew Schmidt, 6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, 7. Steve Kuzmanovski, 9. Todd Norris (22. Liam Rose 49’), 10. Dylan Smith (19. Bright Appiah 58’), 11. Marc Marino, 12. Marc Ochieng, 17. Anthony Kalik (15. Liam Youlley 53’), 23. Rocco Pizzata
Brisbane Roar: 1. Fraser Chalmers, 3. Cameron Crestani, 4. Lachlan Jackson (17. Sam Cronin 73’), 6. Ross Archibald, 9. Benjamin Litfin, 11. Matthew Thurtell, 12. Dong Hyan Do (7. Patrick Theodore 38’), 13. Kenneth Dougall, 14. James Meyer, 17. Sam Cronin (5. Alex Schiavo 52’), 18. Julius Doe (10. Elliott Ronto 52’)
Yellow Cards: 5. Matthew Schmidt, 22. Liam Rose (AIS)
Red Card: 12. Marc Ochieng (AIS)