FULL-TIME Japan 2 – 2 Senegal An entertaining game that keeps Group H very much alive. Poor defending and a lack of quality in the final third let both teams down but they are very much in contention for a place in the knock-out rounds.
It was honours even between Japan and Senegal in Ekaterinburg, with the sides following up their fine opening wins with a 2-2 draw.
Attention in Group H now turns to the evening match in Kazan, between Poland and Colombia. Should that match also be drawn, then it is yet possible that the Poles and the Colombians could qualify for the next round on goal difference, in the event that they both win their final matches.
Senegal made one change to their team to face Japan, with both sides looking to continue their winning starts. Senegal, who saw off Poland 2-1, in their opener, brought in Badou Ndiaye for his Stoke team-mate Mame Biram Diouf. Japan also won their opening game 2-1, Colombia narrowly beaten in Saransk, and decided against changing their winning line-up.
Senegal went in front in the 12th minute through Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, not that he knew too much about the goal. Youssouf Sabaly’s shot was parried by the goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and the ball rebounded off the shins of Mané and into the net.
Japan equalised in the 34th minute when Yuto Nagatomo controlled a long diagonal ball on the left and cut into the area before Takashi Inui took over, curling a low shot into the far right corner.
Moussa Wague then fired Senegal back in front in the 71st minute, arriving at the back post to crash an effort into the roof of the net after Youssouf Sabaly had played the ball across the face of goal from the left.
But once again Japan hit back. The substitute Keisuke Honda taking advantage of an awful mistake from Khadim N’Diaye to make it 2-2, the goalkeeper missing his attempted punch, allowing Inui to lay the ball off to Honda to fire home.
Group H concludes on Thursday, when Japan play Poland in Volgograd and Senegal play Colombia in Samara.
Source: The Guardian