Tim Cahill was back in the starting side as both Australia and Japan finished with 10 men in a pulsating 1-1 draw in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Brisbane Stadium.
Six years to the day after the famous 3-1 World Cup win over the Blue Samurai, Australia again showed plenty of spirit to reel in an in-form Japan despite Mark Milligan receiving a second yellow card in the 55th minute.
Milligan wasn't the only one seeing red - Socceroos coach Holger Osieck looked ropeable with officials after watching his charge receive his marching orders for attempting to get on the end of a cross as Atsuto Uchida dived in to stop him.
Still seething over Milligan's dismissal, Osieck's mood only got worse in the 65th when dangerman Keisuke Honda found an unmarked Yuzo Kurihara in the six-yard box as Japan drew first blood.
But a 69th penalty turned the game on its head.
Referee Khalil Al Ghamdi pointed to the spot after Uchida was adjudjed to have pulled back Alex Brosque at a corner and Luke Wilkshire did the rest, bringing the 40,189-strong crowd to its feet.
The home fans threatened to erupt again in the 77th minute but defender Sasa Ognenovski's shot hit the cross bar.
There was more drama when Kurihara received a second yellow card in the 89th minute and Wilkshire's long range free-kick was sensationally saved by keeper Eiji Kawashima.
Cahill, who appeared to be on the outer with Osieck after not taking the field in six of Australia's last seven internationals was injected into the starting side and proceeded to terrorise Japan in the first half.
Cahill seemed to be everywhere and was again present during Australia's best first half scoring chance in the 19th minute.
His header was crossed by captain Lucas Neill but somehow Kurihara defied Alex Brosque and cleared the ball off the line while lying on his back.
Frustration caused by Cahill bubbled over when Kurihara received a yellow card for manhandling the ever present Australian trump card moments later.
Japan tried to rally and finish the half strongly but made a mess of its best scoring chances - Yuto Nagatomo's 33rd minute cross failed to find a wide open Ryoichi Maeda and Uchida's strike 10 minutes later went well wide.
Australia received a major blow when veteran midfielder Mark Bresciano lasted just 13 minutes before being subbed off with what appeared to be a groin strain.
Bresciano, 32, had been a standout in Australia's 0-0 draw with Oman last weekend and was again expected to control the game tempo against a confident Japan.
It was a second straight draw for Australia in the final qualifying stage after a draining 0-0 result at a stifling hot Oman last weekend, with Group B leader Japan now on seven points from three games.
A top two finish in the group will guarantee a Brazil 2014 berth, with third spot earning a play-off chance.
An extremely proud Osieck described Australia's spirited display as superb.
"It was a heroic performance after playing in extremely difficult conditions in Oman and then with the travel back to Australia," the Socceroos coach said.
"What they showed today with one man down is hard to describe.
"The spirit is unique, what they displayed today.
"It was very, very unfortunate that we lost (Bresciano) early because he provides that element of creativity that later on we were missing."
Osieck shielded Milligan from any blame for his red-card, slamming referee Ghamdi for the defensive midfielder's second yellow.
"That was a very, very dubious call from the referee," he said. "It was a cross inside and he clearly went to the ball and didn't even touch (Uchida).
"How could he give a red card for that? It was beyond my comprehension."
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni tried to be upbeat after the draw slowed his side's sensational start to the final qualifying stage - which included nine goals for and none conceded.
"It was expected Australia play very well. But we had our chances," he said.
WC Qualifying AFC
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has urged his players to take inspiration from the best clubs in Europe going into FIFA World Cup qualifying.