World Cup Group H match report Japan v Senegal 24 June 2018

Footballer Kalidou Koulibaly

Keisuke Honda came off the bench and scored from close range in the 78th minute to give the Japanese a 2-2 draw with Senegal on Sunday at the World Cup.

Japan started off their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory over a 10 man Colombian side who played nearly the entire 90 minutes with 10 men after Carlos Sanchez received the marching orders in the 3rd minute of the match.

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.

In the 72nd minute 19-year-old Moussa Wague put Senegal 2-1 ahead with a superb strike into the top corner for his first senior global goal. Japan tied it up both times.

And that trend continued early on in the Japan-Senegal game when a harmless cross turned into a 1-0 lead for Senegal after Japan GK Eiji Kawashima punched a loose ball directly off the knee of Sadio Mane.

Up next for Japan is a meeting with Poland in Volgograd, where Nishino expects his players to be confident. And in this game they came from behind twice to draw with a Senegal XI more seasoned and high-profile and, crucially, who have had the same coach for three years.

The ricochet found the back of the net to open the scoring in the 11th minute... But Honda ensured things ended level and deservedly so.

It appeared to pay off when the unfancied Asians stunned 10-man Colombia 2-1 in their opener, and on 34 minutes they were level with Senegal when Takashi Inui bent the ball wonderfully into the bottom corner.

In tournaments gone by, Honda has been Japan's leading man but, so far, he has had to settle for a cameo role under coach Akira Nishino.

"I'm sure he's regretting that decision after conceding that goal".

"He's not particularly talkative with the media, but I think that's because he's just naturally a pretty quiet guy". "We can't underestimate the Japanese team that played very well".

"We are not too euphoric over the first win, but of course it means a lot". The bustling centre-forward caused the Polish backline plenty of trouble in his World Cup debut, and the former Watford will be charged with firing Senegal within touching distance of the round of sixteen.

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