Gamba Osaka get late equaliser

Yasuhito Endo's late penalty preserved Gamba Osaka's hopes in the Asian Champions League with a 1-1 draw in the semi-final first-leg clash with Urawa Reds.

Yasuhito Endo's late penalty preserved Gamba Osaka's hopes in the Asian Champions League with a 1-1 draw in the semi-final first-leg clash with Urawa Reds.

Hajime Hosogai's strike had given the visitors the lead after 22 minutes and they clung on to the lead as Gamba pushed desperately for an equaliser.

But with nine minutes remaining, Ryuji Bando was brought down in the box by Takahito Soma and Endo converted from the spot.

Endo had been an injury doubt before the game but his presence in the starting line-up inspired the hosts early on and Bando missed an easy chance to take the lead.

The striker hit the ball wide from inside the six-yard box after the Reds had conceded a soft free-kick.

Akira Nishino's men continued to push forward and after 18 minutes midfielder Takahiro Futagawa raced clear only to be denied by Reds keeper Ryota Tsuzki at his near post.

A few minutes later Reds took the lead.

Soma's cross from the left was blocked and Hosogai lashed in the rebound from the edge of the area.

Keeper Yosuke Fujigaya was then tested by Soma's 20-yard effort as the pressure mounted on Gamba's goal.

The hosts responded after the interval and in the 56th minute Hideo Hashimoto's left-footed shot was deflected onto the bar and Akira Kaji shot wide from the follow-up.

Bando narrowly missed the target from the resultant corner.

Gamba's domination without reward continued as Masato Yamazaki's effort from 10 yards went agonisingly wide following a penetrative move.

Urawa were increasingly restricted to sporadic raids into the opposition half, but they remained resolute at the back and offered little encouragement to Gamba's attack.

But in the 81st minute with hope ebbing away, Bando went down in the box under Soma's challenge and Endo assumed the responsibility of levelling the tie.