World Cup: Japan stops Senegal in thriller


Japan have twice come from behind to record a 2-2 draw with Senegal in Sunday’s World Cup clash in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Sadio Mane and Moussa Wague had given Senegal hope of a second successive victory in Russia but efforts from Takashi Inui and Keisuke Honda earned Japan a deserved share of the spoils.
Both teams now sit on four points in Group H and but still have work to do if they wish to secure a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
Senegal began the match on the front foot with Mane failing to provide a clinical touch by the penalty spot as early as the second minute, but it did not take long for the Liverpool attacker to open the scoring.
As the game went through the half-hour mark, Japan had offered little in the final third but an equaliser was found 11 minutes before the break as Inui benefitted from smart build-up play from Yuto Nagatomo before curling the ball into the far corner from 16 yards.
Soon afterwards, a neat move led to Japan striking the woodwork through Inui, who curled the ball onto the top of the crossbar from just inside of the area, but just as Japan were setting the pace, Senegal went back in front.
Sabaly’s low cross from the left was flicked on by Niang and at the back post, Wague was waiting to lash the ball into the roof of the net for his first international goal.
Japan opted to introduced Honda and shortly after his introduction, the national team legend scored his 37th goal for his country – and became the first Japanese player to net at three World Cups – when he was perfectly placed to tap home Inui’s cutback after Senegal had made a mess of a cross delivered from the right.