(CNN) -- Champions League debutants Tottenham Hotspur scrambled a lifeline to remain in this season's competition after coming from three goals down to lose 3-2 away to Swiss surprise package Young Boys on Tuesday night.
The English club were facing a heavy defeat after trailing 3-0 inside the first half-hour in Berne, but now have a good chance of qualifying for the group stage in next week's home leg on grass in London.
However, Young Boys will still be confident, having qualified for the final qualifying round after drawing with Fenerbahce on their home artificial pitch and then winning in Turkey.
Tottenham left out England internationals Ledley King, Aaron Lennon and Tom Huddlestone due to fears their injury worries would be exacerbated by the plastic surface, but conceded a bizarre goal in just the fourth minute.
Bosnian striker Senad Lulic made up for hitting the post by slotting home the loose ball after Thierry Doubai's shot hit the back of teammate Ammar Jemal, who appeared to be marginally offside.
Henri Bienvenu made it 2-0 nine minutes later after a slip by Tottenham's stand-in captain Michael Dawson, a recent England debutant, allowed the Cameroonian striker a clear run on goal.
Xavier Hochstrasser gave Young Boys what then seemed like a tie-clinching goal in the 28th minute as Spurs defender Sebastien Bassong was caught out by David Degen's slide-rule diagonal pass.
Huddlestone came on for left-back Benoit Assou-Akotto, and Bassong made some amends by heading in Gareth Bale's corner three minutes before halftime despite the goal-line presence of Young Boys' English defender Scott Sutter -- a boyhood Tottenham fan.
Young Boys squandered several chances in the second half, and were punished when Roman Pavyluchenko fired in at the near post after a neat pass from substitute Robbie Keane.
"That was a great defeat in the end, if there is such a thing as a great defeat," Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp said. "At 3-0 we were out of it. We were in desperate trouble, so full credit to the lads. Now we need to win at home and it gives us a great chance.
"I don't want to make excuses. but I had a nasty feeling there was something in the back of the players' minds about the pitch and they went out and played like that."
Former Tottenham coach Martin Jol's Ajax team also scored a valuable away goal after drawing 1-1 with 10-man Dynamo Kiev.
The Ukrainians had young midfielder Denys Garmash sent off for a second booking in the 57th minute, and Jan Vertonghen -- the player he fouled -- headed home the subsequent free-kick from Demy de Zeeuw.
However, the three-time semifinalists equalized on 66 through Ukraine midfielder Oleh Gusev, who ran onto a long clearance and beat Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to leave the tie finely poised ahead of the second leg in Amsterdam.
Denmark winger Jesper Gronkjaer headed a late consolation to give Copenhagen hope ahead of next week's home clash with Rosenborg.
The Norwegian champions had taken a 2-0 lead with more than half an hour to play, as veteran striker Steffen Iversen fired home in the 23rd minute and Markus Henriksen -- who was also involved in that goal -- diverted Anthony Annan's shot into the net on 57.
Former Tottenham player Iversen was denied another goal first by goalkeeper Johan Wiland and then Thomas Kristensen's goal-line clearance, before Gronkjaer nodded in Hjalte Norregaard's corner with six minutes to play.
MSK Zilina won 2-0 away to Czech champions Sparta Prague to be poised to become the first Slovakian team to reach the group stage.
Sparta were missing three players to suspension, but made the stronger start in their bid to reach the main competition for the first time since 2005.
However, Zilina took the lead six minutes after halftime when Gambian striker Momodou Ceesay took advantage of a mix-up between goalkeeper Jaromir Blazek and Niklas Hoheneder to fire in off the post from a tight angle.
Fellow striker Tomas Oravec doubled the lead in the 73rd minute as he headed in at the near post from Patrik Mraz's corner.
Russian league leaders Zenit St. Petersburg held on for a 1-0 win at home to French side Auxerre in the day's early kickoff.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov headed the only goal in the third minute from Danko Lazovic's cross, and the Russia striker's free-kick was palmed over the bar by goalkeeper Olivier Sorin on the half-hour.
Auxerre's Kenya midfielder Dennis Oliech hit the bar before halftime and Poland winger Ireneusz Jelen missed two good chances before both teams settled for the result.
Wednesday's games see Austria's Salzburg host Hapoel Tel-Aviv of Israel, Moldova's FC Sheriff travel to Swiss side Basel and Belgian champions Anderlecht visit Serbia's Partizan Belgrade.
Portugal's Braga host Spanish club Sevilla and German side Werder Bremen are at home to Italy's Sampdoria.