Dejan Damjanovic struck a late equaliser as hosts FC Seoul salvaged a 2-2 draw from the first leg of their Asian Champions League final against Guangzhou Evergrande.
Seoul, who like their opponents are looking to win the trophy for the first time, took an early lead through Sergio Escudero but then found themselves trailing as Guangzhou hit back with goals from Elkeson (30 minutes) and Gao Lin (59).
At that stage the visitors looked set to have a valuable lead to take back to China for next month's return leg, but Seoul managed to level things up thanks to Montenegro international Damjanovic's strike seven minutes from time.
It took the home side just 12 minutes to take the lead in front of more than 55,000 fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium when Escudero slotted home after the visitors had failed to clear a quickly-taken free-kick.
The lead lasted only 18 minutes though before two-time defending Chinese champions Guangzhou drew level through Brazilian Elkeson, who headed home his fifth goal in five AFC Champions League games after getting on the end of Huang Bowen's corner.
Both sides had chances to go back in front but it was Marcelo Lippi's Guangzhou side who managed it thanks to China international Gao, who turned home a low cross at the near post.
Elkeson missed a chance to increase Guangzhou's lead with eight minutes left and K-League winners Seoul made the most of the escape as they went down the other end and equalised through Damjanovic's finish.
Despite that late disappointment though, Guangzhou will go into the second leg at their Tianhe Stadium on November 9 as favourites to lift China's first continental title since Liaoning won the Asian Club Championship in 1990.