Host Japan has edged past Australia 2-1 in a much-needed win during World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday night.
Japan, who had lost two of their last three matches, ended Australia's record 11-game winning streak in Saitama.
After just eight minutes, Ao Tanaka opened the scoring, while sluggish Australia found an equalizer through an Ajdin Hrustic free-kick after 70 minutes.
Australia's midfielder Ajdin Hrustic (L) scores a goal during the 2022 Qatar World Cup Asian Qualifiers Group B match against Japan in Saitama, Japan, October 12, 2021. /CFP
With less than five minutes remaining, a late, dramatic own goal from Aziz Behich offered the hosts a World Cup qualification lifeline.
Australia's goalkeeper Mat Ryan said, "It would have been great to keep momentum and to keep going. It's important now to digest it and respond. We'll regroup and go again in November."
Only the top two teams in each of Asia's two qualifying groups are guaranteed to advance to the World Cup, with the third-placed finishers moving into a series of playoffs.
Australia now sits top in Group B, with Japan ranking third.
China will meet second-placed host Saudi Arabia in the same group at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah later on Tuesday night local time.
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