Hand of Nakata gives Japan Asian Cup victory
Defending champions Japan shattered China's dream of a first ever Asian Cup final victory, winning thanks to a controversial goal in a hostile atmosphere to down the host nation 3-1.
China loudly appealed the decision but Kuwaiti referee Saad Kameel stood firm.
Shunsuje Nakamura crossed deep to Takayuki Suzuki who nodded it back onto the head of Takashi Fukunishi who made no mistake from close range.
With the crowd roaring them on China launched into the attack and drew level nine minutes later when Li Ming capitalised on some nifty footwork by Yan Song down the left.
Yan rounded two defenders before laying the ball off to Li who slotted it home from the edge of the area.
Keiji Tamada, though, rubbed salt into Chinese wounds one minute into second half injury time when he dribbled past keeper Liu Yunfei to make certain of victory.
It assumed political connotations when senior leaders from both sides stepped into the fray and security at the game was ultra tight with at least 6,000 police on duty, some in riot gear and with dogs.
The game was a spirited performance from Zico's men who came to the tournament decimated by injuries and club commitments.
The likes of Hidetoshi Nakata, Shinji Ono, Naohiro Takahara and Junichi Inamoto played no part, leaving a makeshift Japanese team to show again that they remain the heavyweights of Asian football.