Storm Roux grabbed an assist and Keisuke Honda stole a homecoming goal, but it wasn't enough to avoid a second straight Asian Champions League defeat.
It's the one blemish on Australia's most successful club and an otherwise sterling Melbourne Victory career for Kevin Muscat: the Big V have never won an away fixture in the ACL.
After taking the lead against South Korean side Daegu FC last week, just to fall to a 3-1 defeat, breaking their duck against three-time J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima away seemed a far-flung task.
It became harder when Sanfrecce took a third minute lead through Shunki Higashi, after the J-League powerhouses' obligatory Brazilian striker, Patric, burst past ACL debutant Anthony Lesiotis and drove a cross through weak Victory marking.
But Muscat's side dominated possession and despite being largely nullified by a disciplined Hiroshima outfit, eventually drew level through Honda, the Victory marquee repaying the thousands of Japanese fans who turned up to see his first home-soil club fixture in 12 years.
Victory then piled on the pressure, withdrawing defensive midfielder Anthony Lesiotis in favour of Kenny Athiu, but to no avail. Hiroshima pounced on weak pressure and an injury-hit backline to head in the winner - and what could be an ACL-ending loss - through Daiki Watari.
"It was a tough game, we came up against a good team and we had a lot of travel in the legs and a lot of hours on the plane," Roux said.
"We've got to take every game as it comes, so now we're focusing on domestic for a couple of weeks.
"But, we'll look at (Victory's next ACL opponents, Guangzhou Evergrande), they're a very good side."