BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Kyodo) -- A late disallowed goal ended Japan's hopes of a first win at the 2019 Copa America on Monday, as an offside ruling against rising star Takefusa Kubo ensured the Group C game against Ecuador finished 1-1.
The draw also ensured that both teams remained winless and were knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.
Real Madrid's new teenage signing Kubo appeared to have scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time but the goal was ruled out on video review after he was judged to be offside when a blocked shot fell to him in front of goal.
Japan, who made a disappointing debut in their only other Copa America appearance in 1999, finished third in Group C with two points after an opening-match loss to Chile and then draws against Uruguay and Ecuador.
On Monday, Shoya Nakajima gave Japan hope of advancing to the knockout phase with his opener in the 15th minute, but it was canceled out when Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima parried a shot into the path of Angel Mena 20 minutes later at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.
Nakajima's goal was confirmed by VAR, the 24-year-old midfielder depositing a right-foot effort from about 20 meters out when he was gifted the ball via a botched clearance by Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
"We had a chance to go past the group stage. It's disappointing we couldn't convert our chances," said Nakajima, who was on the Japan team that was knocked out in the group stage at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu praised his youthful squad which had been constructed with an eye on the 2020 Olympics, saying they fought hard and will be better for the global exposure they got in the 12-nation tournament.
"We have to learn from our successes and failures and use these experiences to grow," Moriyasu said.
"We lacked the ability to follow through, and that's how you win," he said.
Kubo believed the experience was worthwhile, and was the start of something bigger.
"I gave it my very best, I had fun," he said. "This isn't the end, I'm looking forward."
Second-half attempts by Nakajima, Daizen Maeda and Kubo were all thwarted by Dominguez as Japan struggled to maintain possession and control the pace of the game after the break.
Uruguay, who topped Japan's group with two wins and a draw, and Chile progressed to the last eight.
Uruguay will play Peru in the quarterfinals and Chile will meet Colombia, while hosts Brazil face Paraguay and Venezuela take on Argentina.