David Villa's ten-game A-League tour began with a goal and a point for the rebranded Melbourne City at Sydney FC.
New York City FC's maiden signing is on loan in Australia until the club join Major League Soccer after the turn of the year, and he debuted as a 48th-minute substitute with the game scoreless.
Though Corey Gameiro quickly gave the New South Welshmen the lead against the run of play, Villa leveled to give his team a share of the spoils.
It marked a historic day for the Melbourne outfit, with this the Heart's first clash since changing their name to City, following a takeover from the City Football Group.
Sydney were also looking to kick-start a new era, having lost the services of Alessandro del Piero to Indian Super League side Delhi Dynamos, but gained manager Graham Arnold.
City had the run of the play in the first half, however. Veteran winger Damien Duff was a constant menace on the right, and his centre almost saw James Brown notch early on, with a beautifully shaped effort that battered the cross-bar.
An error by Sasa Ognenovski in the hosts' defence then allowed Mate Dugandzic to pounce, but the 24-year-old faded wide of the far post.
Vedran Janjetovic may have survived these two earlier strikes, but he was soon forced into a stunning one-handed save from Dugandzic's breathtaking left-footed volley.
Villa's introduction for Brown followed the interval, and while Gameiro brilliantly curled into the corner after beating the offside trap, the Spaniard's moment was to come in the 63rd minute.
Collecting Duff's pass from the right, the World Cup winner steadied himself and fired low into the net from the edge of the area to drag Melbourne back into the contest.
Arnold's men came within inches of stealing victory in the dying moments though, as Terry Antonis hacked a bouncing ball sublimely against the woodwork with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne beaten.
While the visitors may have hoped to take all three points themselves, their New York counterparts will be encouraged by Villa's scoring start - offering the franchise a further boost ahead of their debut campaign, with Frank Lampard also netting regularly in England.
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