Despite Hotaru Yamaguchi’s thunderbolt, Japan could only draw their East Asian Cup 2015 game with South Korea 1-1 on Wednesday to remain winless after two matches in the competition.
The Samurai Blue conceded the first goal of the game in the 25th minute when defender Masato Morishige was found guilty of handball in the penalty area.
Guangzhou R&F’s Jang Hyun-soo, Morishige’s former team-mate at FC Tokyo, duly converted from the spot to put the Koreans in the lead.
But Japan equalised just six minutes before half time when Cerezo Osaka midfielder Hotaru Yamaguchi smashed in a blistering strike from outside the box.
Vahid Halilhodzic’s men came out improved after the break but were unable to create many subsequent scoring opportunities.
The draw sees Japan earn their first point of the round-robin tournament but leaves the cup holders still without a win, after they lost 2-1 to North Korea in their opening encounter.