Melbourne Victory's hopes of progressing past the group stage at the Asian Champions League are hanging by a thread after suffering a 2-0 loss to Beijing FC.
Just three days after suffering a 3-1 loss to the same team, Victory found themselves down 2-0 at half-time on Friday following goals from Jonathan Viera and Zhang Yuning.
Victory were able to tighten up some defensive holes in the second half, but the damage had already been done. The result leaves Victory with just three points from their four games.
Even if Victory win their remaining two games, they would have to rely on other results falling their way in order to sneak into the top two of their group.
Victory were on the back foot from the outset, with Viera opening the scoring in the ninth minute with a low drive from just inside the box.
Marco Rojas was a rare spark for Victory, and the New Zealand international almost scored in the 14th minute -- only for his long-range strike to be saved.
Victory were lucky not to give away a penalty when defender Dylan Ryan tripped up Wang Gang in the box.
But it mattered little for the Chinese outfit, who doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Yuning expertly controlled a pass with his right foot before turning to fire truly with his left.
Victory defenders were convinced Yuning was offside, and were quick to vent their anger. Replays were inconclusive, and with no VAR available, the goal stood.
Beijing committed a host of cynical fouls in the first half but it was Victory who went into the book, with both Nicholas Ansell and Adama Traore seeing yellow.
Callum McManaman produced a deft touch followed by a perfectly-weighted loop pass in the 57th minute to set up a great opportunity for Victory, but Storm Roux was denied at close range by the goalkeeper.
Only the crossbar denied Beijing from adding a third goal in the second half, but it mattered little as they cruised to the win and guaranteed their spot in the top two.