Wednesday , 21 November 2018
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Honda hands Japan 2-2 draw with Senegal

YEKATERINBURG: Senegal twice took the lead. Japan tied it up both times. Keisuke Honda came off the bench in the second half and scored in the 78th minute, giving the Japanese a 2-2 draw with Senegal on Sunday at the World Cup.

The 32-year-old Honda, a former AC Milan forward, became the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups.

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

Sadio Mane gave Senegal the lead in the 11th minute with his first World Cup goal.

Moussa Wague crossed from the right, but Genki Haraguchi failed to properly clear the ball. Youssouf Sabaly then sent a shot toward goal that Eiji Kawashima was unable to control and Mane tapped it into the net.

Japan struck back in the 34th minute when Takashi Inui scored with a low shot from inside the area after receiving a pass from Yuto Nagamoto on a quick counterattack. It was Japan’s first shot on goal in the match, and it changed the run of play.

Japan started to use its speed to control the middle of the field and open spaces in Senegal’s defence, but it was the African team that again took the lead.

Sabaly crossed the ball for Mbaye Niang, who backheeled it toward Wague. The 19-year-old forward restored the lead with a shot high into the net in the 71st minute.

A minute later, Japan coach Akira Nishino sent on Honda and striker Shinji Okazaki, a move that paid off. With four points from their opening two games, both teams remain in contention but will need points from their final group matches to make the round of 16.

In their final group games on Thursday, Senegal will face Colombia in Samara while Japan play Poland in Volgograd.

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