Sunday June 24 2018
World Cup: Honda stalls Senegal

It remains very tight in Group H, as Japan fought back twice to hold Senegal, including a late equaliser from ex-Milan star Keisuke Honda.

This was a surprising top of the table showdown, as Japan beat 10-man Colombia and Senegal swept Poland aside in their opener. There were several Serie A faces on show, from Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Torino striker Mbaye Niang to Inter full-back Yuto Nagatomo.

Senegal took the lead in bizarre fashion, as Eiji Kawashima punched a Youssouf Sabaly shot on to the knee of Sadio Mane and it ricocheted in from six yards.

Makoto Hasebe’s strike was charged down by his own teammate, but Inter veteran Nagatomo controlled a long ball to set up Takashi Inui for a curler into the far bottom corner from 12 yards.

Niang fired straight at the goalkeeper and Yuya Osako somehow failed to score from point-blank range when hitting a fresh-air shot on a Gaku Shibasaki ball rolled across from the right.

Inui was unfortunate not to turn the game around completely on 64 minutes, his curler bouncing off the top of the crossbar.

Instead, Senegal restored their advantage, as Niang flicked on a Mane low cross for Moussa Wague at the far post, who blasted it back across the face of goal from a tight angle.

Former Milan man Keisuke Honda came off the bench and made an immediate impact, as goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye flapped at a cross, Okazaki put it back in from the by-line and Honda kept his cool to drill home.

Japan 2-2 Senegal

Mane 11 (S), Inui 34 (J), M Wague 71 (S), Honda 78 (J)

Japan: Kawashima; H Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Shibasaki; Haraguchi (Okazaki 75), Kagawa (Honda 72), Inui (Usami 87); Osako

Senegal: KH Ndiaye; Sabaly, Koulibaly, S Sane, M Wague; PA Ndiaye (CH Ndoye 81), A Ndiaye (C Kouyate 65), Gana; Ismaila, Niang (Diouf 86), Mane

Ref: Rocchi