An off-target scissor-kick attempt from Bruno Fornaroli at the death was not enough to rescue a share of the points as brave Perth Glory suffered a 2-1 Asian Champions League loss to Shanghai Shenhua in Qatar.
First-half goals from Peng Xinli and Yu Hanchao at the Education City Stadium put Shanghai on course for what looked set to be a regulation victory against their understrength opponents.
But the match took a turn in the 81st minute when Glory debutant Jonathan Aspropotamitis pounced on a rebound to pull a goal back for Perth, who had enjoyed the better of the second period.
The Australian outfit pushed hard for an equaliser in the dying minutes, and Fornaroli almost produced one in stoppage time when he unleashed a spectacular bicycle kick in the box.
The Uruguayan's attempt sailed wide of the target, with Glory's hopes of victory travelling with it.
The result left Perth bottom of Group F with two losses to their name.
But new coach Richard Garcia would have been brimming with pride given the amount of first-choice talent missing from his side.
Glory entered the match almost unrecognisable from the squad that lost 1-0 to FC Tokyo in their opening ACL fixture way back in February.
Aspropotamitis,Luke Bodnar, Declan Hughes, Joshua Rawlins, and Bryce Bafford were among the youngsters thrust into a starting line-up featuring five debutants.
Glory were made to pay dearly for two mistakes in the first half.
Shanghai were on the scoresheet after just seven minutes when a turnover from 16-year-old midfielder Rawlins opened the door for Xinli to score.
Hanchao made it 2-0 courtesy of some slack defending and a goalkeeping error from Tando Velaphi, who allowed the China international's close-range shot to squeeze past his left glove.
The air-conditioned stadium - completed in June this year ahead of the country's staging of the 2022 FIFA World Cup - may have created cooler conditions for the players, but tempers ran hot throughout the match.
Shanghai were handed two yellow cards in the opening half - with both incidents involving Glory striker Nick D'Agostino.
Wang Wei was the first to go into the book when his attempted clearance ended with his foot crashing into D'Agostino's jaw.
And tough Cameroon defender Stephane Mbia, who had given Fornaroli a tough time, received a yellow card in the 35th minute after kneeing D'Agostino in the backside.
Sydney FC are the next A-League side in action. They take on Chinese outfit Shanghai SIPG in their Group H encounter on Thursday.