Full Time: Japan 2-2 Senegal
Date: 24 June 2018
Venue: Ekaterinburg Arena
Senegal twice squandered the lead as they played to a 2-2 draw against Japan in their 2018 FIFA World Cup, Group H match at the Ekaterinburg Arena on Sunday.
The Lions of Teranga got off to a flying start and opened the scoring in the 11th minute, albeit fortuitously when a shot from Youssouf Sabaly was saved into the path of Sadio Mane, who bundled home from close range, 1-0.
Ten minutes later, Ismaila Sarr almost doubled the Africans' lead when he met a right-wing cross with a strong volley from 12 yards out, but the Japanese keeper made a good save to deny him.
Japan managed to equalise in the 34th 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.
Mbaye Niang should have restored Senegal’s lead five minutes before the break when he broke through on goal, but failed to beat the keeper in a one-on-one as the half ended 1-1.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Africans came close to scoring when Mbaye Niang let fly from long range, but the Japanese keeper made a fantastic save to deny him.
Japan nearly drew level in the 65th minute when a swift counter-attack saw Inui into space 14 yards out, but his effort struck the crossbar.
Six minutes later, Senegal re-took the lead when a low left-wing cross from Sabaly was met at the back post by Moussa Wague, with the 19-year-old firing the ball into the roof of the net from six-yards out, 2-1.
The Africans' lead did not last long, though, with Japan equalising for the second time when a goalmouth scramble inside the box saw the loose ball fall to Keisuke Honda, who passed the ball into the back of the net from close range, 2-2.
Neither side could find a winner in the final 10 minutes and had to settle for a share of the spoils, which leaves them joint top of Group H with four points each after two matches.
Here is how they lined up.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi (Shinji Okazaki 76’), Shinji Kagawa (Keisuke Honda 72’), Takashi Inui (Takashi Usami 87’); Yuya Osako.
Senegal: Khadim Ndiaye; Moussa Wague, Salif Sane, Kalidou Koulibaly, Youssouf Sabaly; Ismaila Sarr, Alfred Ndiaye (Cheikhou Kouyate 65’), Idrissa Gane Gueye, Sadio Mane; P.A Ndiaye (Cheik Ndoye 81’), Mbaye Niang (Mame Diouf 86’).