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Substitute Keisuke Honda strike earns Japan draw with Senegal       

YEKATERINBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Second-half substitute Keisuke Honda scored late as Japan twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Senegal in their World Cup Group H match here on Sunday.

Moussa Wagner gave Senegal the lead with 19 minutes remaining after Takashi Inui’s 34th-minute strike cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener.

But former AC Milan winger Honda drew his side level by firing in from close-range, six minutes after replacing Shinji Kagawa.

The result leaves both teams on four points from two matches and left the group wide open ahead of Thursday’s last round of first-stage matches.

Senegal settled quickly, taking the lead in the 11th minute at Central Stadium. Youssouf Sabaly began the move by latching onto a poor clearance with a tame effort that Eiji Kawashima ought to have grasped. Instead, the goalkeeper punched the ball directly onto the legs of Mane and the ball rebounded into the net.

Despite having less possession, Senegal looked more dangerous in the final third as central striker M’Baye Niang combined well with Mane on the left and attacking midfielders Badou Ndiaye and Idrissa Gueye just behind him.

Japan’s equalizer came against the run of play after a superb assist from Yuto Nagatomo. The Galatasaray full-back left two defenders in his wake before feeding Inui, who took a touch before drilling an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

Japan raised the tempo after halftime as their high-pressing defence allowed them to quickly recover possession.

The Asian outfit came close to taking the lead just after the hour mark when Inui hit the crossbar after a backheel pass from Gaku Shibasaki.

Sabaly ran onto to Mane’s dinked pass before turning smartly around his marker and firing a low cross to Niango in the six-yard box. The Torino forward made slight contact with a backheel flick and Wague timed his run perfectly to lash in at the far post.

But Japan continued to threaten as Senegal struggled to maintain possession. Honda was brought on for Shinji Kagawa shortly after the goal and the move made an immediate impact.

Inui’s cross from the left after a bungled Senegal clearance fell to Honda and the CF Pachuca veteran coolly drilled his first-time effort past goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye.

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UPDATES:

Honda strike earns Japan draw with Senegal

YEKATERINBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Second-half substitute Keisuke Honda scored late as Japan twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Senegal in their World Cup Group H match here on Sunday.

Moussa Wagner gave Senegal the lead with 19 minutes remaining after Takashi Inui cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener.

But former AC Milan winger Honda drew his side level by firing in from close-range, six minutes after replacing Shinji Kagawa.

The result leaves both teams on four points from two matches and left the group wide open ahead of Thursday’s last round of matches.

“We fought to the death,” Japan coach Akira Nishino said. “Naturally we wanted to win but the way the team came from behind twice shows how much we have improved in attack. But we still want to see it out and win our last game.”.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was not so happy, admitting that his team did not deserve to win.

“We were not very good frankly, and Japan were the better team, I have to admit that,” Cisse said. “But despite that fact, we led twice and what’s annoying for me is the two goals we conceded.”

Senegal settled quickly, taking the lead in the 11th minute at Central Stadium. Youssouf Sabaly began the move by latching onto a poor clearance with a tame effort that Eiji Kawashima ought to have grasped. Instead, the goalkeeper punched the ball directly onto the legs of Mane and the ball rebounded into the net.

Despite having less possession, Senegal looked more dangerous in the final third as central striker M’Baye Niang combined well with Mane on the left and attacking midfielders Badou Ndiaye and Idrissa Gueye just behind him.

Japan’s equalizer came against the run of play after a superb assist from Yuto Nagatomo. The Galatasaray full-back left two defenders in his wake before feeding Inui, who took a touch before drilling an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

Japan raised their tempo after halftime as their high-pressing defence allowed them to quickly recover possession.

They came close to taking the lead just after the hour mark when Inui hit the crossbar after a backheel pass from Gaku Shibasaki.

Sabaly then ran onto to Mane’s dinked pass before turning smartly around his marker and firing a low cross to Niango in the six-yard box. The Torino forward made slight contact with a backheel flick and Wague timed his run perfectly to lash in at the far post.

But Japan continued to threaten as Senegal struggled to maintain possession. Honda was brought on Kagawa shortly after the goal and the move made an immediate impact.

Inui’s cross from the left after a bungled Senegal clearance fell to Honda and the CF Pachuca veteran coolly drilled his first-time effort past Khadim Ndiaye.

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Senegal star Mane disappointed at draw against Japan at World Cup

YEKATERINBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Senegal striker Sadio Mane scored the first goal in his team’s 2-2 draw with Japan in the second round of Group H at the World Cup on Sunday, but the Liverpool star felt disappointed with the result.

“All of us feel a little bit disappointed because there was a way to win this match,” Mane said. “We started this game well. We were dangerous and had many chances, but in the end they equalized. That’s too bad.”

The 26-year-old Mane, playing in his first World Cup, was named man of the match, largely because of his goal.

Senegal are now second on the group standings and will take on Colombia in the life-or-death final group match on June 28.

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Vital to ‘neutralise’ Senegal star Mane, says Japan coach Nishino

YEKATERINBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Japan coach Akira Nishino Sunday praised his players for suppressing the threat posed by Liverpool star Sadio Mane during the 2-2 draw with Senegal in the second round of Group H actions.

Mane made a strong start against the Asian side but faded away in the second half. Japan twice came from behind to earn a point and remain on track to earn a place in the round of 16 at Russia World Cup.

“It is very important to neutralise Mane and my players did a pretty good job neutralising him and abating his threat,” Nishino said in the post-game news conference.

“We gave him too much space in the first half and he played freely to inspire his teammates. Fortunately after that I think we did pretty well,” the coach added.

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

“To secure a passage to the round of 16 after two games was the highest of my goals and after the victory in the first game we wanted to be really aggressive towards the second game,” he said. “We wanted another three points and secure the passage to the knockout stage, which did not come, but I think the result that we have is going to have a very positive impact on the third game.” 

           

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