Melbourne Victory continued its AFC Champions League campaign in Doha, losing 2-0 to Beijing FC at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Friday night.
Callum McManaman impressed in his second Victory appearance, driving forward and creating chances in the final third.
New signing Jacob Butterfield made his Victory debut along with goalkeeper Max Crocombe who showed composure in playing out from the back.
Beijing took the lead nine minutes in. Renato Augusto’s long ball forward worked its way to Jonathan Viera, who found the bottom corner.
Victory stepped up its intensity following the opening goal, drawing a number of fouls deep into the opposition’s half.
Jake Brimmer threatened from the resulting set pieces, but Victory were unable to find a reply.
Marco Rojas burst through the midfield and fired a shot goal-bound, which bounced awkwardly and forced goalkeeper Hou Sen to concede a corner.
However, Beijing doubled its lead through Zhang Yuning in the 35th minute – finding the back of the net via the woodwork.
During the break, Aaron Anderson replaced Nick Ansell who was carrying a yellow card.
McManaman provided Victory’s first chance of the second half, providing Storm Roux with a teasing cross at the back post.
The New Zealander’s shot was denied by the Beijing goalkeeper who was at full stretch.
Beijing came close to a third in the 66th minute. A string of passes provided Augusto with an opportunity, which was firmly met by the crossbar.
On his 44th Champions League appearance, Leigh Broxham tried his luck from range but goalkeeper Hou Sen was well prepared once again in the Beijing goal.
Elvis Kamsoba, Brandon Lauton, Jay Barnett and Lawrie-Lattanzio also made cameos off the bench, as the Victory squad continues building its fitness.
Defeat in Group E leaves Melbourne on three points with two games remaining against Chiangrai United and FC Seoul.
AFC Champions League 2020 Group E
Melbourne Victory 0
Beijing FC 2 (Viera 9’, Zhang Yuning 35’)
Melbourne Victory: Crocombe (gk), Traore, Ansell (Anderson 45’), Ryan, Roux (Lauton), Broxham, Butterfield (Barnett), Brimmer, McManaman (Kamsoba), Rojas, Folami (Lawrie-Lattanzio)
Beijing Guoan: Hou Sen (gk), Yu Dabao, Wang (Jiang), Li Lei, Kim, Chi, Augusto, Fernando (Lyu Peng), Zhang Xizhe (Ba Dun), Viera (Ziming), Zhang Yuning (Alan)
Yellow cards: Traore 37’, Ansell 40’, Wang 50’, Broxham 63’, Ryan 89’
Venue: Jassim bin Hamad Stadium
Victory will be hoping to bounce back when it takes on Chiangrai United on Monday night (midnight, Tuesday morning).
An Ola Toivonen penalty earned Melbourne three points when the sides first met in February.