Porto Alegre: Two goals from Koji Miyoshi helped Japan secure a hard-earned point in a 2-2 draw with Uruguay at the Copa America on Thursday.
Miyoshi twice fired Japan into the lead only for Uruguay to level through a controversial penalty from Luis Suarez and a second-half header from Jose Gimenez.
The draw means Japan have an outside chance of reaching the quarter-finals from Group C, with one game remaining against Ecuador.
Uruguay, who trounced Ecuador in their opening game, missed the chance to make certain of their place in the last eight against a Japan team who had been trounced 4-0 by Chile in their opening game.
Japan had been let down by poor finishing in their defeat to Chile, but were a different proposition at the Arena do Gremio as coach Hajime Moriyasu range the changes in his starting line-up.
Former Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki started alongside Hiroki Abe up front as Moriyasu relegated Ayase Ueda and Takefusa Kubo to the bench.
With Uruguay’s defence looking uncharacteristically vulnerable, Japan took the lead on 25 minutes when a long diagonal pass from Gaku Shibasaki sent Miyoshi racing clear. Uruguay were gifted an equaliser with a VAR-assisted penalty four minutes later.
There appeared to be no question of a foul after Cavani and Ueda came together in the penalty area with the Uruguayan striker stretching to reach a pass. But VAR ruled that Ueda had fouled Cavani prompting Colombian referee Andres Rojas to point to the spot. Suarez stepped up to convert.
In the second half yet another incisive break from Japan led to Miyoshi grabbing his second to make it 2-1 in the 59th minute. Again though Uruguay were quick to respond, Gimenez heading in Nicolas Lodeiro's cross in the 66th minute to make it 2-2....