Senegal’s Lions out to seal last-16 berth against Japan

Senegal’s Lions out to seal last-16 berth against Japan

Japan and Senegal could not be separated in a Group H clash after they played to a thrilling 2-2 draw at the 2018 World Cup on Sunday evening.

Japan for the second time in the game drew level through substitute Keisuke Honda in the 78th minute finishing off a cross which makes him the first player from his country to score in three different World Cups.

Eiji Kawashima was slow to react to Juan Quintero's goal for Colombia in Japan's opening 2-1 win and the goalkeeper was again at fault for Sadio Mane's early opener, punching against the forward's leg when it looked easier to catch.

Japan managed to equalise in the 34 minute when Takashi Inui pounced on a loose ball inside the box after some slack defending, and he duly fired into the bottom corner from 14 yards out, 1-1. Keisuke Honda has been involved in six of Japan's last eight goals scored at World Cups (three goals and three assists), and is now registered at +292 to score a goal anytime in this game.

Honda stroked home from close-range just six minutes after coming off the bench to leave the sides level on four points at the top of Group H.

Wague is now the youngest African scorer at a World Cup.

Those missed opportunities were brought into sharp focus after 71 minutes when Wague steamed in at the back post to meet Sabaly's low cross and crash a powerful strike into the roof of the net. "Hopefully he will be feeling better in his shoes, as we like to say".

Osako possesses a quiet confidence, according to another Germany-based player, attacking midfielder Takashi Usami.

This is a team that had to deal with the turmoil of a coaching change two months before the start of the tournament, with the high-ups at the Japanese FA deciding that Vahid Halilhodzic was not the man to take their team into the tournament.

"We are not too euphoric over the first win, but of course it means a lot. But group matches are played over three stages so we will hope for the best for the game against Colombia".

Up next for Japan is a meeting with Poland in Volgograd, where Nishino expects his players to be confident.

With a victory against Japan, they will be looking to continue in their quest to emulate the 2002 World Cup squad or maybe even go further by reaching the Semi-Finals.

Japan are unlikely to have a man advantage for a second straight match.

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