Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor believes a lack of luck in key moments led to their 2-1 defeat to Jiangsu Suning in the AFC Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night.
The Reds were beaten in China after two goals from Alex Teixeira before substitute Eli Babalj pulled one back late on for Amor's side.
The loss to Jiangsu made it back-to-back defeats in the ACL for Adelaide but the A-League champions looked vastly improved in Nanjing compared to their 3-0 loss at home against Gamba Osaka a week ago.
The Reds defended resolutely throughout to trail just 1-0 at the break, with the game swinging in the home side's favour in the space of a couple of crazy minutes midway through the second half.
It seemed like Adelaide had drawn level when Tarek Elrich found the net, only for the goal to be disallowed for a marginal offside call.
Then just seconds later Jiangsu sprung forward as Teixeira doubled the lead to put the result beyond the visitors' reach.
"We improved, we're growing. This is our job, our profession, we love this sport," Amor said on Fox Sports post-match.
"We played well today, we deserved in the moments maybe a little luck. But we are content, happy with the team, with the group.
"We lost it's true, but we go home with a good sensation."
Babalj's goal in the 92nd minute was the striker's first senior goal since he struck for Melbourne Heart in an A-League match in February 2013.
The 25-year-old's career has been cruelled by injuries over the past few years, with Babalj having joined Adelaide for the second time in January after his loan stint last season saw him make just five appearances.
Adelaide's next ACL challenge comes with a home clash against Jeju United on March 15.
The K League outfit cruised past Gamba 4-1 on Wednesday to claim second spot in Group H behind Jiangsu.
Adelaide, who remain bottom of the A-League with six rounds remaining, visit fellow ACL combatants Western Sydney Wanderers in domestic action on Saturday.