Holders China scored twice in the final 10 minutes to hold Japan to a 3-3 draw in an entertaining East Asian Cup match in Seoul on Sunday.
Goals from Wang Yongpo, his second of the game, and substitute Sun Ke earned China a point in their first game of the four-nation tournament.
China, who have failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, took an early lead over the Asian champions with a fifth-minute penalty.
Wang converted from the spot after Japan’s Yuzo Kurihara brought down Yu Dabao.
Japan, without their established European stars, soon started to test China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.
They equalized in the 33rd minute when Kurihara made amends for giving away the penalty by turning in debutant Masato Kudo’s header from a corner.
Coach Alberto Zaccheroni’s men took control of the fast-paced match after the break and struck twice in the space of minutes around the hour mark to go 3-1 up.
Yoichiro Kakitani, playing his first match for the national team, deftly flicked in a cross and then his through pass found Kudo, who beat the advancing Zeng.
Wang, who also hit the post, brought China back into the match in the 81st minute by converting his second penalty, before substitute Sun completed the comeback six minutes later by volleying in a cross from close range.
China next take on hosts South Korea, who drew 0-0 with Australia in the tournament opener, tomorrow.
In the women’s tournament, North Korea edged their neighbors and hosts South Korea 2-1.
Additional reporting by staff writer