Russian Federation 2018: Mane scores as Senegal share spoils with Japan

Shinji Kagawa Japan Colombia World Cup 19062018

Senegal will be more disappointed not to have won this game, having gone ahead twice through Sadio Mane and Moussa Wague, but Japan will be encouraged after coming back both times; Takashi Inui then Keisuke Honda bagging equalisers.

Senegal broke the deadlock in the 12th minute as Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima's initial save from a shot came off Sadio Mane to make it 1-0.

Japan equaliser came 11 minutes before the break as Inui benefitted from smart build-up play from Yuto Nagatomo before curling the ball into the far corner from 16 yards.

Senegal's showdown with Japan on Sunday could prove pivotal in Group H.

Right-back Wague, 19 years and 263 days old, drilled into the roof of the net to give Aliou Cisse's side a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute in Ekaterinburg.

The draw keeps the two teams at the top of Group H ahead of their final matches.

"It was a tough match, we knew it would be", Japan coach Akira Nishino said.

Senegal became the first African nation to open with a win in this year's World Cup when they knocked off Poland 2-1.

While a draw against Senegal would take Japan a step closer to the World Cup round of 16, nothing less than a win will be good enough against the joint group leaders, the Samurai Blue's man of the moment Yuya Osako said Saturday.

Wague appeared to have ended hopes of a Japanese comeback as he drilled Sabaly's low cross into the goal to send Senegal's supporters into raptures. "Once the game starts, we need to be completely focused on getting three points".

"We really wanted to win, we wanted to equalize and also take the lead even though there was only a short period of time left".

"It is very important to neutralise Mane but we did a pretty good job in dulling his threat, but what we were more anxious about was the impact he has on other Senegal players".

"I don't think it [the delivery] was anything hard but he made that decision which is regrettable", he said. Japan played as expected; they are a very technical team with such good quality in that respect.

For the second straight match, Japan had high-profile support in the stands.

Japan became the first by an Asian team over a nation from South America in the history of the World Cup.

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