For the second week in a row Sydney FC were kept scoreless as Lachie Rose helped seal Macarthur FC's 1-0 win, their first of this A-League Men season, on Saturday night.
Sky Blues coach Steve Corica declared he wanted to see a better end product after a goalless draw to open their campaign against Western Sydney last week, but this wasn't much of an improvement.
"It's disappointing to lose but also not to score goals," Corica said.
"We've had a big week and we were a little bit flat in the first half and gave away a sloppy goal.
"Other than that they didn't really trouble us. We need to get that final third right and things will go from there."
Macarthur were willing to let the home side prod, probe and dominate possession, with Rose's smash-and-grab effort in the 17th minute the difference at Kogarah Oval.
After the Sky Blues had dominated the opening stages Bulls captain Ulises Davila broke down the right flank and, after resisting the temptation to go down under intense pressure from Paulo Retre, crossed into the middle of the Sydney box.
A beautiful linking pass from Daniel De Silva then found Rose with the 22-year-old able to nestle the ball past Andrew Redmayne and into the back of the net.
Rose, who bagged two in the FFA Cup win and the equaliser in the round one draw with Wellington, continued to cause problems for the Sky Blues' defence but his best chance - a 36th minute header - was directed straight into Redmayne's hands.
"He was excellent," Bulls coach Ante Milicic said.
"He's serious and doesn't forget where he comes from (and) we saw something in him this year.
"He's doing well, but it's important he stays grounded."
The small section of Bulls fans made plenty of noise when Rose's goal went in and they let out a different sort of cheer soon after when Craig Noone went down under some Milos Ninkovic pressure as he made a foray into the Sydney box.
No penalty was forthcoming despite a check by VAR and the Sky Blues could have counted themselves lucky to just be one goal down.
"From that distance I couldn't see it," Milicic said.
"All I know is Nooney doesn't go down easily.
"I'm just delighted that that kind of decision didn't hurt the end result. We didn't have to rely on the penalty and we got what we deserved."
Sydney huffed and puffed but Macarthur absorbed pressure and defended compactly for much of the second half.
The Sky Blues' wayward efforts were perhaps best summed up when Adam Le Fondre needlessly lunged in on Noone and was shown a yellow card.
Sydney's English striker had been unable to break Kurto's resolve from the edge of the box before he glanced a header the wrong side of the post.
Australian Associated Press