The New Zealand Men's under-20 football side has been beaten 2-1 by Uzbekistan in Tashkent in the second match of their two-game tour.
After falling behind in the 18th minute, the New Zealanders levelled two minutes after halftime via Alex Rufer.
But the hosts, who claimed the first match of the series on Saturday with a 1-nil win, replied with a 73rd minute winner.
Coach Darren Bazeley made seven changes to his side with the contingent from the All Whites tour to Korea restored to the starting line-up while there were first international starts for goalkeeper Nik Tzanev, Sam Brotherton, Nicholas Del Moro, Noah Billingsley and Moses Dyer.
The Wellington Phoenix midfielder Matt Ridenton set up the New Zealand goal, releasing club mate Rufer behind the Uzbekistan defence and the 18-year old rifled an excellent finish into the bottom corner.
Bazeley says his side turned in a strong performance which raised the bar from the weekend's first match against a team he feels is set to do well at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand in two months time.
He says they were the better team for quite long periods but they couldn't get the goal.
Bazeley says it was disappointing to lose the game but they played well and showed improvements from the first game which is what we asked.
He says today was a step forward both in possession and out of possession and they found some answers to some questions we had.
The majority of the New Zealand side now return home to continue their preparations for their FIFA U-20 World Cup opener against Ukraine on May 30th while Uzbekistan meet Honduras in Christchurch on June 1st in their first match.
New Zealand: 12. Nik Tzanev (GK), 3. Deklan Wynne, 4. Jesse Edge (13. Cory Brown 60'), 5. Adam Mitchell (2. Brock Messenger 60'), 6. Sam Brotherton, 8. Moses Dyer, 10. Clayton Lewis, 17. Matthew Ridenton (16. Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi 84'), 18. Noah Billingsley (14. Andre de Jong 70'), 19. Nicholas Del Moro (7. Andrew Blake 47'), 15. Alex Rufer (9. Judd Baker 84')
Substitute not used: 1. Oliver Sail (GK)