Costa Rica defeated Japan 1-0 to maintain its qualification hopes for the next round of the World Cup.
The players of Luis Fernando Suarez spent the majority of Sunday's game on the defensive, but ultimately prevailed thanks to Keysher Fuller's stunning curling goal in the 81st minute, their first and only chance on goal.
Japan, who entered Ahmad bin Ali Stadium buoyed by their victory against Germany, were unable to penetrate the stout Costa Rican defense.
The game appeared to be destined for a dull tie until Fuller scored a late goal.
The outcome leaves Group E wide open. Costa Rica, who lost their opening match to Spain by a score of 0-7, is astonishingly still in contention to go to the next round.
A victory on Sunday would have qualified Japan for the round of 16, but they will now need a result in their final match against Spain to maintain their qualification ambitions.
Coach Hajime Moriyasu utilized the entirety of Japan's 26-man roster by making five substitutions to the squad that stunned Germany in their opening encounter.
At Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, when the temperature was 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit), Japan immediately attacked and won a corner kick within 30 seconds to signal their intent.
Jewison Bennette, a teenager, and Carlos Martinez, a defender, were relegated to the bench by Costa Rica head coach Luis Fernando Suarez in response to Spain's thrashing of his squad.
Four players from the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals, including Gerson Torres and Kendall Waston, 34, were included in an aged starting eleven.
The first shot on goal, a timid effort that went high and wide, did not occur until 10 minutes before halftime when Costa Rica's 30-year-old Joel Campbell sent a harmless effort high and wide.
"Los Ticos" enjoyed greater possession of the ball during the first half, although neither team managed a shot on goal.
Moriyasu had seen enough and made two substitutions at halftime, including the entrance of Takuma Asano, who scored the game-winning goal against the Germans.
Within seconds of the resumption of play, Blue Samurai midfielder Hidemasa Morita forced the first legitimate save of the encounter with a hard shot.
Just after the hour mark, Moriyasu substituted Brighton forward Kaoru Mitoma for a defender as Japan chased the victory that would propel them into the round of 16.
As the play entered its last 20 minutes in front of 41,000 fans, Japan dominated.
Junya Ito appeared to have broken free and was closing in on the goal when Costa Rica defender Francisco Calvo deliberately pulled him back on the edge of the penalty area, receiving a yellow card that could have been red.
The Costa Rican offense had been inactive for the majority of the match, but nine minutes before the end of regulation, Fuller's effort took a deflection and went in.