Melbourne Victory battled bravely in its 1-0 loss to South Melbourne in Round 9 of the PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
South Melbourne's Milos Lujic and Matthew Millar each had chances for the home side in the opening 10 minutes, with the latter rattling the crossbar.
Marcus Schroen also pressured the Victory goal with a sizzling header that flew past Lucas Spinella's left upright.
Victory's first genuine chance came 32 minutes in as a result of Lucas Derrick's penetrating run. The young winger forced his way into the area, approached the byline and let off a forceful shot at the near post, drawing a save from the South Melbourne goalkeeper.
Millar threatened to pinch one for the hosts five minutes from the break, but he could only steer his shot shy of the post.
Victory came out looking completely rejuvenated in the second half and would have scored had Ryan Lambert's effort not been diverted out for a corner.
But it was South Melbourne which edged itself ahead courtesy of a towering Lujic, who guided the ball across goal and into the corner.
Victory was unflustered by its concession and pushed forward in earnest, with George Howard's strike reminding the home side of the threat it posed on the counter-attack.
Sebastian Pasquali managed to put the ball into the back of the net in the final minutes, but he was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
Victory was relentless in search of an equaliser, though it ultimately fell short.
Victory returns home to Epping Stadium to take on Melbourne Knights in its next PS4 NPL Victoria match on Saturday, April 30.
Earlier, Victory's under-20 team romped to an emphatic 6-0 win over South Melbourne.
South Melbourne 1 (Lujic 59’)
Melbourne Victory 0
South Melbourne 0
Melbourne Victory 6 (Stanisavljevic 7’/36’, Paola 11’/41’/51’, Theoharous 47’)