Japan come back twice to take a point against Senegal

Rosalie Gross
June 25, 2018

In an exciting but error-strewn 2-2 draw, the Africans went ahead through Sadio Mane and dominated for much of the first half until Takashi Inui replied with a curling shot for Japan.

On 71 minutes, soon after hitting the Senegal bar, Japan allowed a scuffed cross to go right across their goal and defender Moussa Wague arrived all alone at the far post to grab what looked like being an unlikely victor.

With four points from their opening two games, both teams remain in contention but will need points from their final group matches to make the round of 16.

With no major injury concerns for his squad, Aliou Cisse will most likely start the same 11 that started the match against Poland.

Inui nearly turned the game around for Japan 20 minutes into the second half, but his fine effort came back off the bar.

However, Japan gradually got into the contest and duly equalised in the 34th minute, when Yuto Nagatomo brilliantly brought down a diagonal pass by Gaku Shibasaki and fed it to Inui, who - with supreme precision - curled a low effort beyond Khadim N'Diaye's despairing dive into the bottom corner. Of course there was a way for us to win the match and we didn't do it.

"I don't think it [the delivery] was anything hard but he made that decision which is regrettable", he said.

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In the build-up, Japan's manager Akira Nishino had hinted that his team would use original ways to physically compete with Senegal.

"In the first half we let him and the others play a bit too freely, but overall for countermeasures I think we did pretty well".

The two will be at close quarters come matchday and Mane said: "I know him very well, we played and trained together at Southampton and we used to chat together at the gym".

"We have a decisive game coming up", Mane said.

The 32-year-old Honda also scored at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

While Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are already making plans to return home after failing to secure a point, Senegal can still ensure Africa has at least one representative in the last 16.

Senegal's Sadio Mane, top right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his site's first goal during the group H match between Japan and Senegal at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Yekaterinburg Arena in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Sunday, June 24, 2018.

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