South American champions Ecuador faced a tough opening-day challenge against perennial FIFA U-20 World Cup qualifiers Japan in Bydgoszcz.
La Tricolor took the lead right before half-time, albeit rather fortuitously.
From a free-kick, Japan goalkeeper Tomoya Wakahara punched his clearance directly into teammate Kyosuke Tagawa’s face and the ball ricocheted into the goal.
However, Japan fought their way back into the game with a large amount of the credit due to Wakahara, who saved Jordan Rezabala’s penalty early in the second half to keep his team in with a chance. And that moment proved to be just what the Samurai Blue needed as Kota Yamada equalised in the 68th minute, steering his shot home from close range after Ecuador keeper Moises Ramirez failed to clear his lines.
Japan will face Mexico in Gdynia next on May 26, while Ecuador will stay in Bydgoszcz and play Group B leaders Italy on the same day.