In matchday 2, Senegal and Japan both respectively beat Poland and Columbia in their opening games which meant whoever wins this game could gain a foot into the knockout stages.
Both teams understood the importance of the game, so it had a slow start until Japan’s Eiji Kawashima’s poor header clearance landed onto Youssouf Sabaly but his shot was initially saved by Japan’s goalkeeper.
Sadio Mane pounce onto the ball and scored the rebound in the 11th minute.
Japan responded in the 34th minute when Yuto Nagatomo controlled a long ball in Senegal’s box and laid it off for Takashi Inui to curl it past the goalkeeper.
The first half ended without the same intensity of the last 20 minutes, but Japan came back in the second half with waves of attacks with the closest on the hour mark when Gaku Shibasaki delivered a dangerous ball into the box but Yuya Osako failed to make contact for the ball flew past him.
However, this did not deter Japan’s attack with Inui hitting the bar 4 minutes later.
Senegal made the breakthrough after Sabaly crossed the ball from the left flank which was flicked on by M’Baye Niang in the middle.
The ball went across the goal face to the 19-year-old right back Moussa Wague to blast the ball into the roof of the net for his first senior goal in the 71st minute.
After a poor punch by Senegal’s goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye, the experienced Keisuke Honda equalised after 6 minutes of being subbed on in the 78th minute.
Japan played better in the second half but Senegal put their foot off the pedal everytime they scored which allowed Japan to attack.
This meant Honda is the only Japanese footballer to score in three consecutive World Cups while Sadio Mane received the man of the match award after scoring and being influential for Senegal in the game.
The game ended Japan 2-2 Senegal which opened the group for the other teams in the Group H.
Source of Image – BBC