The Socceroos have secured a point in a tight encounter at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night as Tim Cahill came off the bench in the 1-1 result.
An early goal from Japanese winger Genki Haraguchi set up a dour first half in Melbourne as the Socceroos failed to break the visitor’s defensive block in the first 45.
However a spirited second half performance saw Ange Postecoglou’s men work their way back into the match and peg a deserved goal back from the penalty spot as captain Mile Jedinak restored parity.
As the Socceroos continued to push for an all-important three points in a tight Group B of Asian Qualifying, the 70th minute inclusion of Tim Cahill had the Japanese defence on high alert but was unable to add to the scoresheet as both sides settled for a point.
The national team now sit second in Group B, two points behind Saudi Arabia who defeated UAE last night while Japan sit third, only one point behind the Socceroos. Their next test is Thailand in November with Tuesday night's result meaning it will be a must win clash in Bangkok for Postecoglou's men.
Cahill’s 20 minute cameo saw the forward come out of the match unscathed as he looks to head back to Etihad Stadium on Saturday for his first A-League appearance.
City take on Victory in the 20th edition of the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night, kick-off 7.50pm.