Japan scores late equalizer to draw Senegal, 2-2

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Midfielder Keisuke Honda came off the bench to salvage a 2-2 draw for Japan against Senegal, as both teams were locked at the top of Group H following an entertaining encounter on Sunday.

Sadio Mane gave Senegal the lead in the 11th minute, deflecting the ball into the net for his first World Cup goal, but Takashi Inui equalized with a well-placed shot from inside the area in the 34th.

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.

Japan and Senegal have four points after two games, while Group H rivals Poland and Colombia are both chasing their first points of the tournament when they meet in Kazan.

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In their final group games on Friday (NZT), Senegal will face Colombia in Samara while Japan plays Poland in Volgograd.

"He's not particularly talkative with the media, but I think that's because he's just naturally a pretty quiet guy".

"What we were more concerned about was him giving a positive impact to other players, especially in the first half when we let him and other players play too freely". All I know is at this level of competition with the players we have today, who are world-class, these were avoidable goals. "I always say the second match is the deciding match and we have to win, no matter who we play. And that's normal because there was a way to win this match", Mane said.

Honda, Japan's record World Cup goalscorer, would have the final word, though, by netting from close range after goalkeeper Ndiaye had missed a cross completely, for his fourth goal in a World Cup finals.

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"Honestly we are all disappointed, there was a way to win and we did not do it", said Mane, who was only a sporadic danger down Senegal's left.

After a sluggish first half against Colombia, despite having a man advantage, Japan's energy picked up and they used the ball much better after the break. "He is one of the players that is under the spotlight, so yes of course he can do better than what he is doing".

While Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are already making plans to return home after failing to secure a point, Senegal can still ensure Africa has at least one representative in the last 16.

The goalkeeping during the 2018 World Cup has been decidedly not good.

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