Japan vs Senegal, Group H as it happened: Senegal, Japan battle to hard-fought draw
Both teams came into the game after registering stunning victories in their group opener.
Group H standings
After the game, here’s how Group H looks. If loser in the Poland-Colombia match crashes out of the tournament.
FT: It’s all over. Good game but Japan will be feeling like they could have won this. Twice Senegal led and twice Japan fought back but the Asian nation had the better chances; chances they needed to have done more with.
85’: Niang going off. A good game, a yellow card but his physical presence was tough for Japan to counter. Still, he wasted too many chances.
78’: GOAAALLLLL!!! Honda came on in the 72nd minute and now he has scored the equalizer. Another goalmouth scramble, the defence was in shambles and Honda – who has scored 74 goals for Japan – made sure he finished well.
71’: GOALLL!!!! A crude goal but a goal nonetheless and it gives Senegal the lead. Nice finish by 19-year-old Wague, who made a good run at the far post. Still, the initial part of the move was set up by the physical power of the Senegal players, the Japanese just couldn’t cope with it.
64’: Japan go close again. Oh, so closeeee. Inui, the goalscorer, with a wonderfully chipped shot that beat the keeper but couldn’t beat the bar. Good shot. Japan coming so close... they want a goal now. They have to make these chances count.
60’: What a miss for Osako. He was just a few yards out from goal, the ball was perfect and all he needed to do was connect with the ball but instead, he connected with just air. What a miss... that should have been a goal. The striker thumped the ground in frustration but he may not get a better chance in this game. No one may.
58’: Yellow for Niang, whose flailing arms have put another Japanese down.
55’: Another shot by Niang. He caught it well but hit it straight to the goalkeeper.
And we know this is a JPN-SEN match but this is worth a watch...
51’: Japan’s defence looks shaky at times – making silly errors. The first one cost them but they haven’t been able to close down that shop yet. Niang’s size and pace in particular have posed big problems for the Japanese defenders.
47’: Senegal get the first corner of the second half but it was cleared well by the Japanese defence. Will we see a change in the tactics? A draw in this match means that either Poland or Colombia will crash out of the tournament if they lose later in the day.
HT: Play about to begin. In the 14 times, Mane has scored for Senegal, his team have never lost. 9 wins and 5 draws.
HT: If you didn’t catch, Inui’s classy finish first time, do it now:
HT: Senegal would do well to keep an eye on Inui...
HT: Senegal started better but Japan have worked their way back into the contest. It wasn’t end-to-end stuff but the promise is there. This could become something so much better.
41’: Senegal are a little shell-shocked here and Japan are in the ascendancy. They are keeping the ball better and controlling the flow of the game.
39’: A chance for Senegal but Niang couldn’t get it past the Japanese goalkeeper. It was almost a one-on-one chance. Big miss.
34’: GOOAAALLL! Inui with a wonderfully placed shot. Nagatomo had come forward to good effect, trapped the ball well and then linked up with Inui, who final shot to the far post was sheer class. 1-1
32’: Nothing much happening at the moment. The game is being played largely in the middle of the pitch now. Japan have a bit more possession now.
27’: Kagawa has not really got a lot done so far. He should be a larger influence; he has to be make more of his time on the pitch.
23’: Japan sitting back, looking to hit on the counter. Only Yuya Osako is upfront from them. Given these tactics, that goal really does hurt them. At some point, they will have to take the game to Senegal.
20’: Japan haven’t fallen apart after the goal. They are still going for it. The Asian giants have never come from behind to win a match in the World Cuo.
11’: GOAAALLL!!!! Comedy of errors. Poor clearance by Haraguchi (No.8). He somehow decided to head the ball in play instead of putting it out and conceding a corner. It went to the Senegal player behind him, whose shot was then punched out by the Japanese goalkeeper despite it being only knee high. But it rebounded off Mane’s knees to give Senegal the lead.
4’: No Asian team has won their opening 2 games at the World Cup finals but Japan will know that a positive result will go a long way here. This is a tough group – Colombia and Poland are quality sides too.
2’: Senegal got in there. Nothing came out of it but the early signs are good. Both sides settling in now.
We are a go! National anthems are done and this is for taking a big step towards the last 16.
Hello and welcome to the live updates of the Group H match between Japan and Senegal. Japan can all but guarantee themselves a place in the second round if they follow up their surprise defeat of Colombia.
The Asian giants have vowed to take an aggressive approach against Senegal, who are spearheaded by Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.
Japan coach Akira Nishino said his team planned to mark Mane closely in Ekaterinburg. “I am sure we can deal with him but with the contribution that Mane can make, it might be possible to mark him one on one or even three on one,” Nishino said. “It is possible to stop him but the trouble is that he has influence too on other players, and that is what we are concerned about.”
Nishino said he had encouraged his team to chase victory in the second half against Colombia in their first game, and would adopt a similar approach against Senegal. “I always say the second match is the deciding match and we have to win, no matter who we play,” he said. “We need to earn maximum points. Even if it is slightly risky we want to attack and try to win.”
(With inputs from AFP)