Australia won a massive psychological battle against Japan in a compelling 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Brisbane Stadium.
In a fierce contest of unparalleled drama, the Socceroos drew 1-1 with their arch-rival from Japan to keep alive their dream of reaching a third straight World Cup.
A crowd of 40,189 was treated to a spellbinding confrontation between Asia's finest two teams.
It was World Cup qualifying at its best and most thrilling.
The game certainly lived up to its blockbuster billing, and at the end of 90 minutes of cup-tie football where no quarter was asked or given, the Australian team could hold its head high.
Holger Osieck's team lost playmaker Mark Bresciano 13 minutes into the game due to a hip injury and played for almost the entire second half with 10 men after Mark Milligan's harsh sending-off for two yellow cards.
Much was said about Japan's scintillating football that has swept all before it in this qualifying campaign.
It was even suggested that the only way the Australian team could match Japan's technical superiority was by digging deep into its considerable reserves of temperament and fighting spirit.
Yet the most satisfying aspect to emerge from a night of passion was that as long as both teams were at full strength the Australian team was playing the better and more effective football.
How Australia did not score at least two goals in the opening half an hour will remain a mystery.
And when it was necessary to show grit and determination after Milligan's expulsion, the home team also showed the Japanese what it was made of.
Facing Japan is hard enough with 11 men but with 10 it becomes distinctly more difficult.
But with captain Lucas Neill leading by example at the back, Sasa Ognenovski fighting like an enraged lion, Alex Brosque working tirelessly all night and Tim Cahill making all the difference with his aerial power, Australia was able to come away with a deserved point.
The result will send a strong message to the rest of Asia that the Socceroos are the real deal and fully justify their position as second-ranked country on the continent behind Japan.
It will also show the Japanese that no matter how advanced their game has become the last few years, they know that they will be given a run for their money whenever and wherever they face the proud Australians.
The Socceroos may have been deprived of a vital victory that would not have been undeserved at all, but in a way they can be justified in feeling that they have put one over the Japanese in Brisbane.
Outgoing Manchester United chief executive David Gill expects Wayne Rooney to start the 2013-2014 season with the Premier League champion.