Wataru Endo captained Japan to a 4-2 victory in their Asian Cup opener against Vietnam.
Endo completed the full 90 minutes of Sunday’s Group D contest and registered an assist, setting up former Reds star Takumi Minamino on the stroke of half-time, which pulled the Samurai Blue level at 2-2.
It was the second goal of the game for Minamino, who starred for his national side in their tournament curtain raiser.
He opened the scoring at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, but Vietnam quickly equalised and threatened an upset by going 2-1 up shortly after the half-hour mark.
However, Minamino finished to cancel that lead out after latching onto a clever through ball by Endo, before Keito Nakamura restored Japan’s lead in first-half stoppage time.
A late strike by Ayase Ueda put the game to bed, sealing all three points for Endo’s side and ensuring a winning start to the tournament.
Japan's second match versus Iraq takes place on Friday January 19 at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, before the Samurai Blue return to Doha's Al Thumama Stadium to conclude their group fixtures against Indonesia on Wednesday January 24.
Games can be caught on on subscription service TrillerTV in the UK, while fans in the USA can stream the tournament on Paramount+.