FIFA World Cup 2018: Senegal-Japan share points after an epic encounter
Japan and Senegal played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Group H. And, that leaves both with work to do in their final matches to qualify for the knockout stage.
Sadio Mane scored his first World Cup goal and his 15th for Senegal in the 11th minute.
A cross from Moussa Wague on the right fell at the feet of Youssouf Sabaly after Haraguchi missed the headed clearance. Although, goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima punched Sabaly’s shot away, it bounced back into the net.
Japan nearly answered five minutes later. Makoto Hasebe’s strike from 25 yards bouncing back off a teammate, but they did finally level in the 34th minute. Yuto Nagatomo left a pass over the top for Takashi Inui, who beat goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye at the right post.
Both teams had chances to reclaim the lead before half-time. In the 39th minute, Badoua Ndiaye missed a glorious opportunity. And in the 40th minute, Haraguchi leaned too much into an attempt from 20 yards out and skied it over the crossbar.
Inui almost turned the game around for Japan 20 minutes into the second half, but his fine effort came back off the bar. And it was Senegal who retook the lead five minutes later. Wague met a ball played across the box and coolly sidefooted into the roof of the net for his first international goal.
Japan levelled again in the 78th minute. Khadim N’Diaye failed to deal with a cross into the box. It left Inui free to cut the ball back to the unmarked Keisuke Honda, who made no mistake.
Honda has become the highest scoring Asian player in World Cup history with his fourth goal in the competition. The Japan star has now scored in three separate World Cups for his country. The 32-year-old netted twice at the 2010 World Cup in a breakout performance.
As both the sides left the pitch with point each, they still have a battle it out in their final game to book a spot in the last 16.
FT: Japan 2-2 Senegal
Inui 34′, Honda 78′ | Mane 11′, Wague 71′
Saif Ahmed Chowdhury
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