• Kyodo

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A last-ditch strike denied Japan’s Under-23s a deserved victory away to their Greek counterpart on Wednesday as they were held to a 1-1 draw in a buildup match for this summer’s Athens Olympics.

Tatsuya Tanaka’s 21st-minute strike looked almost certain to give Japan victory in its first match since qualifying for Athens until substitute Pandelis Kapetanos capitalized on some sloppy defending to give the host a share of the spoils in the dying seconds of stoppage time.

Japan coach Masakuni Yamamoto remained upbeat despite seeing victory snatched from it so late in the match.

“This is the stadium where we will be playing at the Olympics and I thought playing here today was a great experience for all the players,” said Yamamoto.

“Our opponents had plenty of aerial power and were very physical and I’m pleased with the way we defended against them,” he added.

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