Striker Mark Bridge rejuvenated Sydney's Asian Champions League campaign with a dramatic stoppage time winner in their 3-2 away victory over China's Shanghai Shenhua on Tuesday night.
Sydney twice came from behind at Hongkou Stadium, with Brazilian striker Bruno Cazarine scoring once in each half with some sublime finishing.
With two rounds left, Sydney are just one point behind group pacesetters Suwon Bluewings of South Korea and Kashima Antlers of Japan, who drew 1-1 in Tokyo earlier on Tuesday.
Sydney plays both of those teams away from home in their two remaining group games.
The impressive Bridge caused Shanghai problems throughout the game, setting up Cazarine's second goal before lashing the ball home from just inside the penalty area.
Cazarine, who was Sydney's leading goalscorer in the recently completed A-League season, scored in first half stoppage time and again just before the hour.
Slapdash defending threatened to cost Sydney dearly, as they conceded a couple of soft goals.
Shanghai put Sydney under intense early pressure and Jiang Jiajun goaled after just eight minutes.
He recovered quickly after being fouled by Sydney captain Terry McFlynn and raced onto the free-kick he won, to lift the ball over goalkeeper Liam Reddy.
Just before the break, Cazarine ran onto a Nicky Carle through ball and delicately lifted the ball over the Shanghai goalkeeper.
Sydney found themselves behind again in the 52nd minute, when Scott Jamieson headed a left wing cross past his own goalkeeper.
Cazarine came to Sydney's rescue again, when Bridge headed a cross from McFlynn into the Brazilian's path and he produced a couple of deft touches to put the ball in the net.
Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka recalled midfielders McFlynn and Carle after injury and suspension respectively, while Andrew Durante replaced injured central defender Stephan Keller.
McFlynn and Carle each picked up a yellow card in the first half, with the latter struggling to impose himself on Shanghai until he set up Cazarine's first goal.
Jiajun and Colombian Duvier Riascos looked dangerous for Shanghai but Sydney came into the game after the first ten minutes.
Bridge shot wide and produced two good cutbacks, which narrowly failed to find a team-mate and he just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross from McFlynn.
Hirofumi Moriyasu had a shot blocked, Scott Jamieson had another attempt saved and Matthew Jurman wastefully headed a Shannon Cole free-kick over the bar from inside the six-yard box.
Bridge was delighted to score after a frustrating injury plagued A-League campaign in which he managed just one goal in 18 games.
"I felt I hit it cleanly, I was just worried it might hit another player," Bridge said of his winning strike.
"It's not easy to go to these other territories but we've shown we can do it.
"We've rarely come from behind when trailing, so full credit to the boys.
"We would have been happy with the draw but we needed a win to progress to the next stage."
Lavicka reported no new injury worries and was delighted with the resilience shown by his team.
"They showed great character, it was a very important victory for us," Lavicka told AAP.