Gamba Osaka and Urawa Reds fought to an intensely contested 1-1 draw on Sunday in the final match of the 2017 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League’s fourth round.
A first half of end-to-end attacking ended with the Reds asserting their presence on the pitch but no goals for either side.
Gamba mounted their counterattack in the second half, finally taking the lead when recent Japan call-up Yasuyuki Konno slotted home a cross from the left side in the 57th minute.
Trouble emerged for the hosts in the 73rd minute when an injury to goalkeeper Yosuke Fujigaya, who himself is relieving injured starter Masaaki Higashiguchi, forced third-stringer Ken Tajiri to don the gloves in his J1 debut.
The 23-year-old put in an admirable performance, but could not stop Rafael Silva’s effort from the spot following Shu Kurata’s handball as the Reds managed to salvage an away draw.