Perth Glory have 11 games to book a spot in the A-League finals but captain Jacob Burns has already branded the next two as must-win matches after last night's 3-2 loss to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Adelaide led 3-0 soon after half-time and survived some anxious moments after two late goals gave Glory a sniff of what would have been a remarkable late comeback.
But it was a case of too little, too late for Glory, who controlled much of the first half and wasted their chances in a familiar tale away from home.
After occupying a place in the top six for most of the season, Glory could find themselves out of that bracket by the end of the round if other results go against them.
Glory host third-placed Melbourne Victory and champions Brisbane at nib Stadium over the next fortnight in fixtures that could go a long way to deciding their fate.
"It's back to the drawing board," Burns said.
"We've got two important games in Victory and Brisbane coming up - they're must-wins for us."
Glory had more shots than Adelaide in the first half but failed to convert their dominance into goals.
At the other end, the Reds were clinical.
Jeronimo Neumann pounced on a woeful attempted clearance by Scott Jamieson to open the scoring from close range in the 29th minute and doubled the advantage eight minutes later.
Dario Vidosic provided the pass that sent Neumann through and the Argentinian finished calmly past goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.
Barely a minute had passed in the second half when Iain Ramsay smashed a half-volley into the top corner to make it 3-0.
"Football's a funny old game," Glory coach Ian Ferguson said.
"I thought the boys did well in the first half and created a few good chances ourselves, but the goals we lost were just silly, silly goals.
"The first time we couldn't clear the ball and for the second goal there's a gap there you could drive a bus through."
A late Shane Smeltz penalty - the striker's fifth goal of the season - and a good strike from Steven McGarry in stoppage time gave Glory a faint chance of snatching a draw.
·Perth Glory women's team has slim hopes of claiming a home semifinal in the final round of W-League fixtures today.
Glory have already qualified for the finals but must secure a positive result away to Adelaide and rely on other results going their way to snatch a place in the top two.