Emile Heskey's A-League debut ended in defeat as a travel-weary Adelaide United scored an upset 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Goals to Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay in either half secured the win in front of 14,868 fans, as the Reds defied a short turnaround from Wednesday night's AFC Asian Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan.
Despite only arriving in Australia 10 days ago, former England international Heskey started the match and played 70 minutes.
And while he showed glimpses of his class, the 34-year-old appeared sluggish and in need of more match fitness as he struggled to make an impact.
The Jets finished with 10 men after goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was shown a red card midway through the second-half for using his hands outside the box to deny another Vidosic attempt.
Newcastle had been heavily favoured to get off to a winning start, with the Reds having only four days to recover from a gruelling trip covering more than 11,000km.
But the home side was off to the worst possible start when some sloppy defending allowed Adelaide to take the lead after just 59 seconds.
After some good lead-up work from Argentine import Jeronimo Nuemann, Vidosic shook off Jets defender Josh Mitchell with alarming ease and finished from close range.
The Jets enjoyed the better of possession and field position for much of the half as they chased an equaliser but lacked cohesion in the final third.
Heskey caused a few headaches for the Reds' defence but he drew his biggest cheer of the half for a late shot on goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic in the 40th minute.
The big striker's best opportunity to score came just after half-time but he produced a lethargic effort to barely get a header on Scott Neville's inviting cross.
The home side went down to 10 men in the 57th minute when referee Shaun Evans sent Birighitti off and Ben Kennedy took his place in between the sticks.
Heskey made way for James Virgili in the 70th minute and the substitute almost had an instant impact as he troubled Galekovic with a curling shot.
A fine Kennedy save kept the Jets' hopes alive but Adelaide secured the three competition points when Vidosic set up Ramsay for a simple tap-in in the 75th minute.
Melbourne Heart and Newcastle Jets have emerged as possible destinations for clubless Harry Kewell as the Australia star bids to ramp up his return to football.