Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Achilles heel in Europe struck yet again as they suffered a devastating sucker punch to concede in injury time.
The Dons defence switched off to concede with the last kick of the game.
It was a painful climax as the Reds imploded in a tie they completely dominated and should have won 4 or 5-0.
RoPS Rovaniemi are from the official home of Santa Claus and the Dons handed them a gift all wrapped up with disastrous defending.
Only the heroics of keeper Antonio Reguero kept the score-line down but the Reds should have had the game management to see out a clean sheet.
How costly that late lapse in concentration will ultimately be will only be discovered in Finland.
However, it transformed what should have been a formality in the return in the Arctic Circle into a potentially dangerous trip.
Aberdeen are still in pole position but they have made this tie so much harder than it should have been.
In the last nine Euro ties at Pittodrie the Dons have conceded in eight.
There was a feelgood factor around Pittodrie with Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty having signed contract extensions until 2022 just hours before kick-off.
With the Dons coasting and in complete control that continued – until RoPS netted that late goal.
After less than a month of pre-season and with seven new signings to integrate McInnes admitted his squad would not be at 100% for this tie.
In the Dons favour they will only get sharper for next week.
After just 34 seconds the Finns threatened when Youness Rahimi shot wide from 22 yards.
It was not an early portent of attacking intent as the Finns sat deep and attempted to hit on the break.
The onus was on Aberdeen to break them down with Sam Cosgrove shooting just wide in the 10th minute and Reguero saving a 20-yard drive from Ryan Hedges soon after.
Midway through the half Cosgrove headed across goal and inches wide. Scott McKenna was at the back post but the ball just eluded him.
The Dons went ahead in the 36th minute via a magnificent goal from Niall McGINN.
The attacker was initially ruled out of the tie but recovered quicker than expected from surgery and was pitched in from the start.
That faith from McInnes paid off when the winger picked up a pass from Hedges.
McGinn swivelled past Kalle Katz and then dinked a sublime chip past Reguero from an acute angle close to the bye-line.
Moments later McGinn crossed to Cosgrove and his 15-yard header forced a diving save from Reguero.
In the 45th minute Lewis Ferguson unleashed a vicious 25-yard drive that the over-worked Reguero again saved.
Aberdeen made it 2-0 in the 48th minute when Gallagher powered into the box and whipped a low cross into the front post which COSGROVE met and flicked in from six yards.
Soon after McGinn and Hedges were both denied by Reguero.
In the 60th minute substitute Tarik Kada shot powerfully from the right edge of the box but captain Joe Lewis saved.
Cosgrove came close in the 74th minute when meeting a McGinn free-kick only to head over from six yards.
In the final minute Cosgrove was again denied when Reguero pushed his 15-yard drive wide.
Deep into injury time the Dons lost possession and Lucas Lingman slid a pass through to substitute Tommi JANTTI who slotted beyond Lewis.