Guangzhou Evergrande suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat on penalties to nine-man Chinese Super League rivals Shanghai SIPG after coming agonisingly close to a sensational AFC Champions League comeback win.
It appeared that Guangzhou, winners of the tournament in 2013 and 2015, faced an impossible task to progress after losing the away leg of their quarter-final tie 4-0 three weeks ago.
But they won Tuesday's return leg by the same margin and then emerged from an extra-time period that saw two Shanghai SIPG players see red with a 5-1 lead, forcing a shoot-out.
However, Andre Villas-Boas' men were able to survive and reach the last four, winning by a solitary spot-kick after Ricardo Goulart, who had earlier scored a hat-trick, hit the post with Guangzhou's first penalty.
That allowed Yu Hai to eventually score the clincher for Shanghai SIPG, whose only goal in the match itself was a magnificent Hulk free-kick.
Guangzhou's hopes of a dream comeback were launched when Alan netted twice in the first half to take his Champions League tally to seven for the campaign.
Shanghai SIPG thought they had weathered the storm when Goulart hit the crossbar in the second half and they still held a two-goal aggregate lead with seven minutes left.
But that was when the chaos truly began, as Goulart stunned the visitors with a quickfire double, his second – a header from Li Xuepeng's cross – coming in the first minute of stoppage time and sparking wild celebrations from Luiz Felipe Scolari and the home dugout.
Guangzhou then became hot favourites to triumph when Shanghai SIPG substitute Wang Jiajie was sent off in the first period of extra time, receiving a second yellow for a rash foul on Alan.
But, on 110 minutes, Hulk netted a 30-yard free-kick for the shorthanded visitors to score in his eighth consecutive AFC Champions League appearance, part of a stunning continental campaign that has also seen him produce seven assists.
Guangzhou still fought back with two minutes left to go when Wang Shenchao saw red for Muriqui, allowing Goulart to strike from 12 yards.
Then it was penalties, where nine out of 10 spot-kicks found the target and Goulart, after his stunning performance in the match itself, was the unfortunate villain of the shoot-out, ending a tie that will live long in the memory.
In Tuesday's other quarter-final, Persepolis battled to a 5-3 aggregate victory over Al-Ahli.
After coming from two goals down to 2-2 draw in the first leg, the Iranian visitors won 3-1 in the second despite playing for most of the match with 10 men.
Ali Alipour put Persepolis in front, before midfielder Kamal Kamyabinia was sent off after 11 minutes.
Kamal Kamyabinia equalised for Al-Ahli, but the hosts themselves were reduced to 10 when Motaz Hawsawi saw red for a handball which conceded an 83rd-minute penalty.
Substitute Godwin Mensha converted the spot-kick and Mehdi Taremi scored his seventh of the competition in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
They will meet another team from Saudi Arabia in the last four in the shape of Al-Hilal.
|Messi contract saga not swaying Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Spartak Moscow 1 Maribor 1: Stoppage-time equaliser gives Russians everything to do at Anfield|
|Besiktas 1 Porto 1: Talisca leveller sends hosts through|
|Mkhitaryan questions leave Mourinho riled|
|Jones out of Basel, Brighton games but Mourinho hopeful on Bailly|
|Conte unhappy with Chelsea´s fixture congestion|
|Pepe tells Ronaldo: Come to Besiktas!|
|Clement expects Abraham to shake off back injury for Bournemouth clash|
|Oddo replaces sacked Del Neri at Udinese|
|Bartomeu hints at January Barcelona signings|
|Emery defends ´responsible´ Neymar from lifestyle criticism|
|Del Neri sacked by Udinese|
|Everton striker Niasse facing two-match ban after FA diving charge|
|Lampard excited by English clubs in Champions League|
|Thiago and Coman back for Bayern´s trip to Anderlecht|
|Dybala hails Messi as ´our Maradona´, wants to play with Neymar|
|Sherwood talks up Spurs as potential Champions League winners|
|Borussia Dortmund on the brink as Real Madrid eye progress - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Hughton hopeful on video assistance after Brighton denied penalty|
|Klopp staying calm over Salah form|
|Griezmann: I don´t regret staying at Atletico|
|Guardiola dismisses Champions League favourites tag|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Stoke City 2: Gross, Izquierdo extend home unbeaten run|
|Rose in contention to face Dortmund as Pochettino denies ´issue´ with defender|
|Benzema knows he can give more – Zidane|
|I´ve fulfilled my dreams already – Klopp has no plans to coach Barcelona|
|Aubameyang will face Tottenham, Bosz confirms|
|Klopp expects Matip to face Chelsea, Lallana return getting ´nearer´|
|Berizzo looking to former Red Aspas to provide lessons for Sevilla|
|Mangala ready to pounce, but realistic on Man City playing time|
|Mendy injury means Aguero or Jesus for Guardiola|
|Guardiola sends ´big hug´ to ´amazing, so gentle´ Pulis|
|Tavecchio quits as head of FIGC, claims board have refused to resign|
|Benedetto facing Argentina World Cup KO with cruciate injury|
|Shape up! Heynckes reveals demand to Bayern star Vidal|
|Ramos sits out Madrid trip to APOEL|
|West Brom sack Pulis after wretched run|
|Lloris wants Spurs to forget title and focus on top four|
|Pogba no Gerrard yet, says Benitez|
|Guardiola will ´kill´ City stars if they get complacent|
|Ibrahimovic: My injury was worse than people know|
|Icardi like a ´raptor pouncing on its prey´, says Spalletti|
|City style suits me and thrills neutrals, says De Bruyne|
|Guardiola ready to risk Kompany for Man City after Stones´ injury|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|In-form Chelsea have regained hunger - Conte|
|Inter 2 Atalanta 0: Icardi brace sends Spalletti´s side second|
|Giampaolo promises more from ´extraordinary´ Sampdoria|
|Record-breaking Valencia tee up blockbuster Barcelona clash|
|Poor West Ham performance at Watford was to be expected - Moyes|
|We will see what happens in the future - Silva non-committal on Everton rumours|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|Football needs to do more to combat racism - Boateng|
|Watford 2 West Ham 0: Misery for Moyes on Hammers bow|
|Unlucky 13: Benevento suffer record-breaking defeat|
|Juventus lost composure amid Sampdoria onslaught - Allegri|
|Sampdoria 3 Juventus 2: Champions slip further off the pace after thriller|
|Coleman confirmed as Sunderland boss|
|I was just injured - Belgium´s Nainggolan blasts ´stupid´ claims of feigned ailment|
|Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Losing streak snapped to ease pressure on Christiansen|
|Hughes backs Giggs for Wales job|
|Madrid confirm Ramos´ broken nose after derby clash|
|Kane wants to retire with Tottenham|
|Mourinho: Man United lacked balance with attacking line-up|
|Pastore not considering PSG exit to help World Cup chances|
|Wenger, Ozil & Sanchez uncertainty affecting Arsenal, says Seaman|
|Silva not surprised by Chelsea, Spurs interest in Richarlison|
|Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri on shortlist to replace Ventura|
|Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2: Visitors claim first A-League win of season|
|Marcelo unaware of Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real Madrid|
|Neymar will take PSG´s next penalty - Cavani|
|Ranieri would consider coaching Italy|
|Postecoglou set for decision on Socceroos future|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|