Senegal played spoilers as a late equalizer from Moussa Konate prevented a victory for Great Britain in their first appearance in the Olympics for 52 years at Old Trafford.
Craig Bellamy had scored the opening goal that for a long time looked like sending GB on their way to a vital three points with a composed finish in the 20th minute. But just eight minutes from time Konate got a dramatic leveler with a neat dink over Jack Butland. Britain almost got themselves a late winner, but substitute Marvin Sordell's strike struck the cross bar.
With Uruguay beating the United Arab Emirates 2-1 earlier in the day, it means that the pressure is now firmly on Great Britain to get the three points in their next match with the U.A.E.
Britain came into the contest after a uninspired showing in a convincing defeat to Brazil last week and looking to build some momentum as they seek to take home a medal on home soil. Senegal were never likely to be the whipping boys many had suggested, however. A 2-0 warm-up victory over Spain earlier this month showing what the African nation were capable of producing.
But cheered on by a massive crowd in Manchester, Stuart Pearce's GB side made the more impressive start. There was a element of surprise at the degree to which Senegal appeared content to allow Britain to control the game.
The home side took advantage of their opponents' failure to take the initiative as they broke the deadlock.
Ryan Giggs' in-swinging free-kick from the right was only headed back across goal by Senegal and into the path of Liverpool forward Bellamy, who showed ample technique to strike the bouncing ball past Ousmane Mane and into the back of the net.
Despite their lead, GB still failed to convince and showed little desire to try and add to their advantage. Indeed Senegal came close to getting back on level terms just six minutes later after a poor error by 19-year-old goalkeeper Butland.
The much-touted stopper cleared the ball straight at Senegal's Sadio Mane, who really should have done a lot better than to dink the ball over Butland and wide of the goal.
The tension was amplified in the second period as Britain increasingly clung on nervously to their narrow advantage.
Senegal came close to an equalizer as Danny Rose had to be alert to head Abdoulaye Ba's header from a corner off the line.
The game was also becoming an ever more physical battle, marked by Saliou Ciss's recklessly late tackle on Craig Bellamy that should have earned the defender at least a second yellow card.
While the Senegalese got lucky with that decision, there was nothing fortunate about the way that they pulled themselves level. On the break, a fine pass from Sadio Mane split the Britain defense wide open and Konate showed ample confidence to chip the ball over Butland, who had committed himself at the forward's feet too early.
Britain stepped up their performance in the closing stages, but despite Sordell hitting the woodwork and also having a penalty appeal turned down, a draw was arguably a fair result.