Defensive errors proved costly for the Young All Whites as the New Zealand under-17 men's team lost 3-2 to the Aspire Academy in Doha.
After a goalless first half, the Young All Whites conceded three goals in a 12-minute burst after half-time and had to hang on as their hosts threatened to run riot at the Aspire Dome.
Substitute Dylan Stansfield pulled one back for the Young All Whites and Rhys Lambert set up a tense finale when he snatched a second for the Steve Cain-coached side.
Cain says a disciplined first half performance was undone by lapses in concentration just after the restart but says the match will be a huge benefit to his team ahead of the World Cup in Mexico in June.
The Young All Whites face Aspire Academy on March the 28th and 30th before returning to New Zealand.