After two disappointing losses and one draw, the two-time A-League champions finally broke through for a win thanks to goals from Carlos Hernandez and Kevin Muscat just before half-time after they had fallen behind in the 37th minute.
Chen Tao's find individual effort put Tianjin ahead eight minutes prior to the break but Hernandez replied in the 44th minute with a 35-yard free-kick which evaded everyone in the box before veteran Kevin Muscat scored from the penalty spot after Robbie Kruse had been brought down in the area.
The match did end with a sour note when Surat Sukha received a second yellow card in the 82nd minute before Kruse was stretchered from the pitch with appeared to be a knee injury.
However, Victory caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic hailed his side for fighting all the way until the end to pick up a much-needed win.
"That's a fantastic result for us, the boys played really, really well," Durakovic said.
"I've always believed in these players and the work we've put in on the training pitch has paid off.
"Okay, it's going to take a bit of time for (them to completely learn) the structure I want them to play.
"Slowly but surely it's coming. Hopefully we can go on to bigger and better things in a couple of weeks' time."
The Victory meet Gamba Osaka on May 4 at Etihad and if they win, still have a strong chance of progressing out of Group E and into the knockout stages of the competition.