SYDNEY FC's Chinese trip ended in a 2-1 defeat by sister-club Shanghai Shenhua with an Alex Brosque strike not enough to earn a share of the spoils at Hongkou Stadium.
The Sky Blues sent a scare through their highly-rated opponents, with striker, John Aloisi unlucky to have two goals disallowed during the match, but a late winner from the home side secured the victory in front of a partisan crowd of more than 10,000 supporters in Shanghai's Hongkou Stadium.
Argentinean import, Hernan Barcos opened the scoring for Shanghai with a scrappy finish following a corner in the 32nd minute, and Sky Blue keeper, Ivan Necevski was required to be at his best as the strong Chinese Super League side peppered the Sydney goal in search of a second.
After shining for Sydney FC in a drawn practice match against Shenhua behind closed doors on Friday, Alex Brosque made things interesting in the second half when he levelled the ledger with a well constructed equaliser in the 58th minute of the match.
Just minutes after coming on as a substitute for Captain, Steve Corica, rising star Kofi Danning made a break down the right and picked out Brosque with a perfect near-post cross that was skilfully volleyed into the back of the net.
It looked like that would be enough for Tony Popovic's charges to claim a well-deserved draw but a quality finish from Shanghai's Chen Lei stole the win for the home side with just two minutes remaining in the game.
Despite the narrow defeat, it was a first-class finish to the year from the Sky Blues, who have bounced back very well over the last month following a disappointing Hyundai A-League campaign.
Sydney FC's season will officially come to an end next Saturday evening when the club stages its annual end-of-season awards night at Star City.
Saturday, February 28 @ Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai
Shanghai Shenhua 2 (Hernan Barcos 32', Chen Lei 88')
Sydney FC 1 (Alex Brosque 58')
Sydney FC Lineup: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (5. Mitchell PRENTICE 75'), 10. Steve CORICA (C) (35. Kofi DANNING 55'), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 23. John ALOISI, 27. Matthew JURMAN, 32. Brendan GAN (18. Adam CASEY), 34. Rhyan GRANT.
Substitutes not used: 1. Clint BOLTON (GK), 16. Chris PAYNE, 31. Antony GOLEC, 36. Zach CAIRNCROSS.