As It Happened: Japan and Senegal Push Each Other To 2-2 Draw In A Stunning Contest

As It Happened: Japan and Senegal Push Each Other To 2-2 Draw In A Stunning Contest

Jakub Bobro
Japan(4-2-3-1): Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Shibasaki, Hasebe; Haraguchi (Okazaki, min. 75), Kagawa (Honda, min. 72), Inui (Usami, min. 87); Osako.
SenegalKh. N'Diaye; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Sane, Wague; P. A. N'Diaye (N'Doye, min. 81), A. N'Diaye (Kouyate, min. 65), Gueye; Sarr, Niang, Mane (Diouf, min. 86).
SCORE1-0, min. 12, Mane. 1-1, min. 34, Inui. 1-2, min. 71, Wague. 2-2, min. 78, Honda.
REFEREEGianluca Rocchi (ITA) Booked: Niang (min. 59), Inui (min. 68), Sabaly (min. 90), N'Doye (min. 90+1), Hasebe (90+4)
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Be sure to follow my colleague Ewan Kingsbury's live commentary of Poland vs Senegal, coming up in about an hour. I've been Jakub Bobro, and it was a pleasure to bring you this stunning game!

A very fun game to watch. Both Senegal and Japan were certainly deserving of a point, but both are certainly disappointed not to get three. There is a scenario where all teams could end the group on four points, which adds to the intrigue of Group H.

Full time!

90+2; Senegal have gotten into the Japanese box, but the Japanese are defending well, blocking any shot coming in.

90+1: Sabaly and N'Doye have been booked in the last couple of minutes.

4 added minutes!

89: Neither team getting real chances in these last 10 minutes. They're trying to find some forwards with long balls, but it's clear that the players are exhausted.

87: Substitution: The goal scorer Takashi Inui comes off for Takashi Usami.

85: Substitution: Japan put the ball out so injured Mbaye Niang can come off for Mame Diouf.

83: Both teams still looking for the decider. Here's a stat for you: Moussa Wague is the youngest player to ever score a goal for an African nation at the World Cup.

81: Substitution: Papu N'Diaye comes off for Cheikh N'Doye

78: Senegal show some defensive miscommunication, as N'Diaye comes out to punch the ball away, but Sane heads it. Honda hits it into the empty net.


75: Substitution: Genki Haraguchi is coming off for Shinji Okazaki, a second striker on the pitch,

74: Osako with another shot after the ball got to him after a corner, but blocked by the Senegal defense.

72: Substitution: Shinji Kagawa comes off for Keisuke Honda. Similar postitions, but Honda does have more scoring pedigree than as a playmaker.

71: Moussa Wague the hero for Senegal here. The ball is crossed, Niang slows it down a little, Wague makes a run, smashes it in from a tight angle. Gets his first international goal at 19 in just his ninth cap.


68: Takashi Inui gets a yellow for pulling down Ismaila Sarr. A free kick just outside the box for Senegal. This game has gotten very good in the second half, still neither side settling for a draw.

65: Substitution: Alfred N'Diaye is off for Cheikhou Kouyate, the West Ham defensive midfielder.

65: Japan knocking on the gate again! Inui tries to bend his shot in, but it only hits the bar.

61: Japan were incredibly close to taking the lead. Ball was squared across the box, Osako had to just hit it into the exposed part of the net, but the striker lost concentration and didn't get anything on it. He'll definitely be kicking himself after for this mistake, it might cost them.

58: Niang gets a yellow after slapping Shoji in the face

57: Play has been stopped for a while as Makoto Hasebe gets a bloody nose after a collision, he's let back on the pitch though he is still somewhat bleeding.

55: Senegal just produce chance after chance. Mane creates some space in the box, crosses the ball in. Sarr went for a bicycle kick but missed. The clearance was poor, and Niang had a shot from 25 yards. Senegal seem almost imminent.

51: Papu N'Diaye gets a solid chance, but scuffs the shot over the bar. 

50: Osako gets free for a header, but can't get much power on it, easily saved by N'Diaye. Senegal go to the other side right away, and Niang gets a shot away just over the bar. Japan have never won a World Cup match in which they've trailed, hoping to change that this time.

48: Senegal continue to be the more attacking side. Mane crosses the ball in but it's cleared well by Yoshida.

Second half has kicked off!

An interesting half! Neither team wants to settle for a draw, but Senegal have been more attacking since the game became tied again. How will Japan respond?

Half Time!

Just 1 added minute!

45: A chance from a free kick for Senegal, but Japan traps six of the Senegalese players offside.

43: Senegal have been the better, more attacking side in the past few minutes since the goal was scored.

38: Senegal are now coming forward again after switching off at the back. Niang just had his shot with just Kawashima to beat, but the experienced keeper saves.

34: Nagatomo received the long ball in the box, cuts inside, but leaves the ball to Inui. Inui puts it past the keeper with a beautiful strike with his right.


29: Japan have held onto the ball for a while now, really pushing for an equaliser. The Senegal defense do have their hands full, but are managing well so far.

26: Mane receives the ball in the box, but defended well by Yoshida and Nagatomo.

22: Senegal on the break after a corner. Wague whips the ball in, Niang goes for a sort-of-bicycle kick, but saved by Kawashima.

21: I was wrong, easily cleared by Senegal. I think Japan might struggle from set pieces today, Senegal seem like men against boys when next to Japanese players.

20: Sarr fouls Inui, and this could be a chance for Japan from a cross. Shibasaki to take it.

16: Solid effort from Japan! Nagatomo crossed the ball in, it bounced to Hasebe just outside of the box, but his shot hits only Osako.

12: Quite a lucky goal for Senegal, but they won't mind! Haraguchi clears the ball poorly, Sabaly takes a shot from the keepers' right. Kawashima went for the punch, and punched it right into Sadio Mane's leg. 1-0 Senegal!


9: It's been a bit of a slow start, no chances yet, but it is quite side-to-side, neither team dominating early on.

6: Ball bounced to Sabaly after a corner. The left-back goes for a long shot despite better options, flies way over the bar.

3: Japan seem to be more defensively set, as Osako is usually the only one driving up. Senegal are very active early in the game.

Kagawa kicks off the match!

The anthems have been sung, kick off is nigh!

Not a single change for Japan, they decide to stick with the same eleven that gave them the win against Colombia. Senegal change their formation, adding a central midfielder and dropping a striker. Mame Diouf was almost invisible against Poland, so Pape Alioune N'Diaye, the third N'Diaye in the team, will start the match.

Senegal XI (4-3-3): Kh. N'Diaye; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Sane, Wague; P. A. N'Diaye, A. N'Diaye, Gueye; Sarr, Niang, Mane.

Japan XI (4-2-3-1): Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Shibasaki, Hasebe; Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui; Osako.

The lineups are out now!

Senegal Predicted XI (4-4-2): N'Diaye; Wague, Sane, Koulibaly, Sabaly; Sarr, Gueye, N'Diaye, Mane; Niang, Konate.

Japan Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): (Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Shibasaki, Hasebe; Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui; Osako.

The youngest manager of this World Cup, the 42-year-old Aliou Cisse, is trying to motivate his players by comparing them to the 2002 generation and the fact that this might be their last World Cup chance: “We want to do at least as well as the 2002 generation. That was a beautiful generation but so is this one. But only by winning matches we can do better than 2002. We have won only one match already. The mentalities are different between these two groups – mostly in the head. We had more extrovert characters then, they are more introverted now.”

In Japan, the main worry is still the fitness of the 32-year-old Keisuke Honda. The midfielder got subbed on in the last game, but his start is uncertain. Honda seems quite confident in the ability of his team before the match: "I think we can fool them if we are crafty, including on set pieces, and I also get the impression we can target their goalkeeper. I am sure the key will be set pieces."

Both Japanese and Senegalese fans were applauded for cleaning up their sections of the stadium. These truly remarkable fans should be an example to everyone,


This match is the second to last to be played at the controversial Ekaterinburg Arena, which has a temporary seating stand that is extends outside of the actual stadium. The initial attendance was quite disappointing, as there were over 6,000 empty seats for the Egypt - Uruguay game. Both of the previous match saw only one goal scored, so fans tomorrow will be hoping for a more entertaining match.

Senegal have also been quite impressive, being the only African side to win in the first round of group games. Senegal were the better team against Poland and though they won by a quite controversial goal, the 2-1  win seemed well deserved.

Japan surprised many by their 2-1 win against Colombia, but with a caveat that they played almost the entire 90 minutes against 10 men and one of their goals was a penalty. It was still an intriguing performance from Nishino Akira's men as they went out looking for goals and did not sit back despite the early lead.

Japan are looking to make history against Senegal and become the first Asian nation to win their first two matches in a World Cup. The two nations have met before, in a friendly back in 2003. Senegal won that match 1-0.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute match coverage and commentary. Today, Sunday, 24th June 2018, sees Japan face off with Senegal in the 2018 World Cup. This afternoon's game kicks off at 16:00 GMT, closing out the day. Until then - we'll have plenty of pre-match build-up and analysis from me, Jakub Bobro. Make sure you stay following.