German Cano scored twice as 10-man Fluminense kept their hopes of a first Copa Libertadores title alive on Wednesday to snatch a 2-2 draw with Internacional in their all-Brazilian semi-final first leg at the Maracana Stadium.
Argentine veteran Cano fired Fluminense into the lead after just 10 minutes and then volleyed home a 78th-minute equaliser to leave the semi-final finely balanced heading into next Wednesday's return leg in Porto Alegre.
Cano's late strike was the final twist of a pulsating clash that saw Inter recover from the loss of an early goal to lead 2-1 thanks to strikes from Hugo Mallo and Alan Patrick after Fluminense were reduced to 10 men following Samuel Xavier's dismissal.
Fluminense, one of the most famous names in Brazilian football, have never won the Copa Libertadores, South America's most prestigious regional club competition.
However they will now prepare for next week's second leg with a fighting chance of reaching the final of the showpiece for only the second time in the club's illustrious history.
Fluminense dominated possession and territory throughout the first half, but were given an early warning of Internacional's threat on the break when Mauricio curled a low shot just wide of the post after six minutes.
Internacional could have taken the lead on 10 minutes, but Enner Valencia's fierce shot was parried away by Fluminense goalkeeper Fabio.
Within seconds of that near-miss, Fluminense were ahead, Cano sweeping home an emphatic finish after good work from winger Jhon Arias and John Kennedy.
Despite the early Fluminense dominance however, Internacional grew into the game, and Valencia had the ball in the net after 18 minutes only to be ruled offside.
Valencia was again involved in the key moment of the half on 45 minutes, drawing a rash challenge from Fluminense right back Xavier, which earned him a second yellow and a red card.
With Fluminense scrambling to reorganise, Inter went for the jugular, laying siege to the opposition goal in stoppage time.
It worked, with Spanish full back Mallo heading home Rene's cross. The goal was initially ruled offside, but a VAR review showed Mallo was fractionally on and the call was reversed to make it 1-1.
There was more VAR drama 10 minutes into the second half when Inter thought they had taken the lead after a superb cross by Mallo was met by Gabriel Mercado whose firm header flew into the net.
Once again though VAR intervened, spotting that the ball had grazed Mercado's hand on its way into the net.
There was no doubt about Inter's second goal on 64 minutes though. A well-worked move ended with Valencia flicking on to Patrick, who wrong-footed Marcelo with a clever touch before hammering home for 2-1.
Inter looked poised for victory but 12 minutes from time Cano salvaged a draw, volleying home Nino's header to make it 2-2.