Sydney FC boss Steve Corica was left to bemoan his side's lack of cutting edge as Western United claimed a late 1-0 win to heap more pressure on the Sky Blues boss.
United substitute Alessandro Diamanti scored the game's only goal with a 40-yard lobbed shot over Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to help John Aloisi's side win a dour A-League Men contest at North Hobart Oval.
While Diamanti's 86th-minute effort is sure to go viral, the main talking point to emerge from this game will concern Sydney's stuttering form.
The Sky Blues have just one win in their last six and Corica was left to rue another missed opportunity with a season-defining schedule on the horizon.
Sydney face Melbourne Victory next week before meeting the high-flying Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers in successive weeks.
"We should have won the game, we had three very good chances," Corica said.
"It was just one moment from Diamanti that finished us off.
"We need to win games at this stage, we're halfway through the season and not where we want to be.
"We've got a lot of experienced players who need to believe they can win games and go out and do that."
Skipper Alex Wilkinson made his return from a long-term injury absence while England international Jack Rodwell was once again ruled out for the Sky Blues.
Corica also conceded there was overseas interest in 20-year-old midfielder Patrick Yazbek, who failed to feature against United.
Aloisi's men were not much better than Sydney and had Jamie Young to thank for keeping them in the contest.
The goalkeeper prevented Robert Mak and Joe Lolley from giving the Sky Blues the lead just after halftime and was reliable throughout.
Victory took United - the competition's reigning champions - to within one win of the top six.
"We needed Youngy to be at his best and he certainly was today," Aloisi said.
"Winning gives you confidence and we do build on that and start to win games when you're under a little bit of pressure.
"We had that last year and we're trying to build that this season."
United had chances to go ahead through Dylan Pierias and Neil Kilkenny but it was the introduction of Diamanti which earned the breakthrough.
The Italian slipped the attention of Luke Brattan near the halfway line and spotted Redmayne out of position before unleashing his long-range winner.
"Since I've been coaching, that's probably up there with the best I've seen," Aloisi said.
"It's an exceptional goal, he said he's scored six or seven of those in his career.
"That's the quality of Diamanti. He'll be sorely missed when he retires."