The Australian contingent at the AFC Champions League got off to an indifferent start, as Brisbane Roar were beaten 1-0 at home by Beijing Guon and Western Sydney Wanderers won 3-1 at Kashima Antlers.
Elswhere, Suwon beat Urawa 2-1 and Guangzhou Evergrande got the better of Seoul, winning 1-0.
At Brisbane's Robina Stadium, Frans Thijssen's side seemed destined to start their campaign in Group G with a victory when Beijing's Swedish forward Erton Fejzullahu was sent-off in the 28th minute following a coming together with Adam Sarota.
The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession for the remainder of the match but struggled to create many clear-cut chances, despite their numerical advantage.
Disaster then struck for the Australian champions when late substitute Shao Jiayi's deflected free-kick wrong-footed Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theo to give the Chinese side all three points.
In the other match in Group G on Wednesday, two-time Asian champions Suwon Samsung FC claimed a last gasp victory over Urawa Reds thanks to Itaperuna Leo's 87th minute goal.
The Reds, who won the competition in 2007, took the lead just before the half-time interval when defender Ryota Moriwaki's crisply struck shot found the back of No Dong-geon's net in the first minute of stoppage time.
Twelve minutes into the second half that goal was cancelled out when Oh Beom-seok's miss-hit cross ricocheted off one of the Reds players into the goal.
The hosts then continued to pile on the pressure and were deserved winners after Leo's late strike.
In Group H, Wanderers were well worth the three points with a convincing win over Kashima.
Kashima defender Gen Shoji had put the visitors in front with an unfortunate own-goal in the 54th minute, but matters were level again 14 minutes later when Shoma Doi leveled matters for the J-League side.
Despite a sluggish start to the match, the Sydneysiders kept on pressing for a winner and got their just reward when Yojiro Takahagi put them ahead in the 85th minute, before Mark Bridge put the result beyond doubt in the third minute of injury time.
In the final match of the Eastern Conference on the day, Ricardo Goulart's 31st-minute goal proved the difference between Evergrande and Seoul, with the Chinese side moving into second place in Group H.