Aberdeen lost to Kairat Almaty in Kazakhstan but Kenny McLean's away goal gives the Dons hope in their bid to reach the Europa League play-off round.
Mikhail Bakaev fired the hosts ahead after a sustained period of pressure in the third qualifying round first leg.
Bauyrzhan Islamkhan doubled the Kazakh side's advantage with a stunning 30-yard strike.
McLean's emphatic finish halved Aberdeen's deficit and means they can progress with a 1-0 win next week.
Kairat visit Pittodrie for the return leg next Thursday evening.
At 3,415 miles, Aberdeen's trip was the longest distance travelled in a European club competition and last season's Scottish Premiership runners-up had flown overnight on Tuesday to allow time for acclimatising.
But Kairat were determined to unsettle their visitors from the off and pinned the Dons back throughout the opening 15 minutes.
David Goodwillie did manage to bend a shot into the arms of Kairat goalkeeper Vladimir Plotnikov but before too long, Aberdeen were behind.
A flowing sequence of passes ended with Brazilian Isael delicately laying off for Bakaev to canter into the box and finish with a low shot from the inside left channel.
Aberdeen responded positively and almost levelled. Niall McGinn exchanged passes with Shay Logan on the right before lifting a cross to the back post where Jonny Hayes headed over.
And Kairat moved into a more commanding position with Islamkhan's magnificent shot, the midfielder belting the ball over keeper Danny Ward from a centre-left position.
Far from panicking, the Dons regained their composure and Peter Pawlett poked wide after getting the break of the ball in a crowded area.
Isael looked menacing when he escaped the Dons defence at pace with a couple of step-overs and his low shot was turned out by Ward's feet.
The midfielder tormented the visiting defence again on the hour mark and only a reflex save from Ward prevented a third for Kairat.
McLean followed Adam Rooney in coming on from bench, with Goodwillie and Pawlett withdrawn, and secured a potentially crucial goal for Aberdeen.
McGinn's cross deflected into the midfielder's path and he swept it past Vladimir Plotnikov.
Slightly shaken by the loss of the goal, Kairat sought to re-assert themselves and Isael lashed a shot into the side netting before his countryman Serginho chipped a free-kick over.
Serginho was then denied by Ward from the left side of the box and, from the resulting corner, Stanislav Lunin's downward bounced on to the crossbar with only seconds remaining.