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Honda strike earns Japan draw with Senegal

28 Juin 2018

Japanese midfielder Takashi Inui was left to rue what might have been despite scoring one goal and setting up the other as Japan twice fought back from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Senegal in Yeketarinburg on Sunday.

Though he did not elaborate on the lapses, the comment was particuarly true of the Keisuke Honda tap-in that made it 2-2, after full back Moussa Wague had put Senegal ahead for the second time.

Yekaterinburg: Senegal face Japan on Sunday at the World Cup fired up by an "ignorant" tweet by a British tycoon and reality television star that has become the talk of the team.

Sadio Mane put Senegal ahead from close range after an bad mistake by Eiji Kawashima, the ball flying past the Japan keeper after his attempted punched clearance hit the Liverpool forward.

Japan sacked its coach just two months before the World Cup, throwing its preparations for Russian Federation into chaos.

Mexico-based Honda will look to extend his scoring record against African teams at the World Cup, having slotted the victor against Cameroon during the 2010 World Cup and netted in a 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast in Brazil four years ago. "We are not fearful of Senegal at all", he said. And we really wanted to win this match.

"We need to have more concentration and be more rigorous", Cisse said.

The clash in Yekaterinburg will feature an intriguing battle between Liverpool's Mane and Japanese defender Maya Yoshida, former team mates at Southampton, but Nishino said his entire defence and midfield was well briefed on the opposing striker.

Mane had been more impressive than in the 2-1 win against Poland but Cisse said: "Yes, of course he can do better".

Instead it was Japan and Senegal who took early control by winning their opening matches 2-1, at the expense of Colombia and Poland respectively.

Japan come into the game high on morale after their surprise 2-1 win over group favourites Colombia, courtesy of goals from Shinji Kagawa and Yuya Osako.

Akira Nishino's side paid the price for their second-half profligacy as Senegal restored their lead courtesy of Wague's first global goal.

Honda, 32, is the top-scoring Asian player in World Cup history after his fourth goal in nine appearances.

Up next for Japan is a meeting with Poland in Volgograd, where Nishino expects his players to be confident.

"The ball touched my foot and went into the net", Mane said.

Honda strike earns Japan draw with Senegal