MX23RW : Tuesday, March 26 17:29:57
Jun 24, 2018 at 4pm UK at ​Central Stadium
Attendance: 32,572
Inui (34'), Honda (78')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Mane (11'), Wague (71')

Live Commentary: Japan 2-2 Senegal - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Japan and Senegal boost their hopes of qualification for the World Cup last 16 with a 2-2 draw in Yekaterinburg.
Live Commentary: Japan 2-2 Senegal - as it happened
© Reuters

Japan and Senegal have played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Sunday's World Cup clash in Yekaterinburg.

Sadio Mane gave Senegal an early lead but before the break, Takashi Inui curled the ball into the far bottom corner to get Japan back on level terms.

Senegal regained the advantage through Moussa Wague but substitute Keisuke Honda found a second leveller for Japan as both teams boosted their hopes of progression from Group H.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in Russia courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

3.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the World Cup fixture between Japan and Senegal. The two teams hold the advantage in Group H and victory here will lead to one foot being placed in the last 16.

3.02pmBefore we move onto the build-up, let's take a look at the two starting lineups. Both sides are coming off victories but have Akira Nishino or Aliou Cisse made any alterations?

3.04pmJAPAN XI: Kawashima; H.Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Shibasaki, Hasebe, Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui; Osako

3.06pmSENEGAL XI: K N.Diaye; Sabaly, Sane, Koulibaly, Wague; Gueye, A. N'Diaye, B. Ndiaye; Sarr, Mane, Niang

3.08pmLet's start with Japan who have selected the same first XI which began Tuesday's victory over Colombia. Nishino had already announced that this group of players would feature this afternoon and he has kept to his word.

3.10pmIt means that both Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki both remain on the substitutes' bench. The pair have 96 goals between them on the international stage but their contribution will be restricted today.

3.12pmStill, this Japan side is still full of experience. Kawashima, Nagatomo, Yoshida and Kagawa have all earned more than 80 caps for their country and will all be expected to make a positive impact in this game.

3.14pmNishino will also expect more out of Osako. The 28-year-old attacker scored the winner against Colombia but that was his first international goal of 2018 and there is more to come from the FC Koln man.

3.16pmAs for Senegal, Cisse has opted to make a change to his starting lineup with Stoke City's Badou Ndiaye being drafted into the team. Potters teammate Mame Biram Diouf drops down to the bench.

3.18pmIt means that Senegal will play with three central midfielders, with Sadio Mane seemingly set to spend more time on the flank. The Liverpool forward was given licence to roam against Poland but that may not be the case today.

3.20pmThe goalkeeper and back four remain the same, which comes as no surprise given how they coped against Poland. Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli is naturally the leader in the centre of defence and will hope to have another strong impact on this encounter.

3.22pmM'Baye Niang has kept his place in attack with the Torino striker having netted his first international goal against Poland. Ismaila Sarr will start on the flank and will expect to trouble Japan with his pace.

3.24pmRESULT! Sunday's first match involved England and Panama and it proved to be rather one-sided. The Three Lions stormed into a 5-0 lead by half time and eventually emerged victorious by a 6-1 scoreline. Click here to read our on-the-whistle report.

3.26pmIf you predicted that Japan and Senegal would both emerge victorious from their opening games, we are calling you a fibber. Neither side were that over-matched but the majority of the star men belonged to Colombia and Poland and they all came up short. It has left Japan and Senegal with a massive chance to extend their stay at this competition.

3.28pmJapan are competing at their sixth successive World Cup but they have only progressed through the group stages on two occasions before going out in the first knockout round. Senegal are making just their second appearance at a World Cup, with a quarter-final spot being achieved in 2002.

3.30pmAs we have just mentioned, Japan are competing in their sixth World Cup and they are looking to become the first Asian team to win their opening two matches at one of the tournaments.

3.32pmJapan hold a solid record when it comes to facing African opposition at the World Cup with two wins coming from three matches. The one defeat came against Ivory Coast four years ago.

3.34pmSince the end of August, Japan have played as many as 14 international matches. During that period, just six wins have been recorded, as well as six defeats.

3.36pmTheir most notable win naturally came earlier this week but coach Nishino has warned his team not to settle for ousting Colombia. Click here to read his quotes in full.

3.38pmSupporters of Crystal Palace may be interested in the performance of Hiroki Sakai. The 28-year-old defender - who plays for Marseille - has been linked with a switch to Selhurst Park this summer. I'm sure that some of his teammates will also be looking to use this platform as a shop window.

3.40pmWe have pointed out that an Asian nation is yet to win their opening two matches at a World Cup, and it is something which an African team has achieved on just two occasions. It has not occurred since Nigeria did just that back in 1998.

3.42pmIn the build-up to Senegal's win over Poland, we alluded to the defensive record of Cisse's side and they have now conceded just five goals in nine matches.

3.44pmEven before Cisse took charge, Senegal possessed a strong backline. Since November 2013, Senegal have only conceded more than two goals in a match on one occasion! That came in a 5-0 defeat to Guinea last year.

3.46pmCisse himself may be wondering whether he will get a crack at club football after this tournament. The 42-year-old spent his career in France and England and there are sure to be teams who are taking a shine to how he has put together a well-drilled team.

3.48pmPREDICTION! This can only be a tight game, surely? However, we liked the look of Senegal in their opening fixture so we are going to go for a 2-1 victory for the African nation.

3.50pmHEAD TO HEAD! Sunday's fixture represents the fourth meeting between the two teams, with Senegal unbeaten having recorded two wins and a draw.

3.52pmTheir first clash - at the 1987 Kirin Japan Cup - ended in a 2-2 draw but in 2001 and 2003 respectively, Senegal registered narrow victories without conceding a goal.

3.54pmCisse was a regular for Senegal back then but the coach was absent from the squad which prevailed in Niggata in 2003. The teams are just lining up in the tunnel.

3.56pmIt's time for the two teams to start making their way out in Yekaterinburg. It is "just" the 24C, which is quite cool given what England and Panama have just had to contend with!

3.58pmA reminder of the two starting lineups...

JAPAN XI: Kawashima; H.Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Shibasaki, Hasebe, Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui; Osako

SENEGAL XI: K N.Diaye; Sabaly, Sane, Koulibaly, Wague; Gueye, A. N'Diaye, B. Ndiaye; Sarr, Mane, Niang

1 minKICKOFF! Japan get us underway!

2 minIt has been a very strong start from Senegal who get the ball to Mane who is waiting for the ball by the penalty spot. However, the Liverpool man's first touch is poor and Japan are able to clear.

4 minSenegal also win the first corner of the match which is swung in from the right. The ball evades everyone but Japan didn't look too comfortable dealing with the aerial threat being offered by their opponents.

6 minThe African side win another corner and this one is low and easily cleared. Sabaly gets the chance to shoot from 30 yards but his effort is not threatening the target.

8 minJapan just haven't got going yet. It would be unfair to say that Senegal are simply owerpowering them but they are winning every ball.

10 minSenegal have reverted to keeping hold of the ball in their own half. They made a habit of that in their first game with Poland. It was an uneventful contest until Gueye's deflected strike.

11 minGOAL! Japan 0-1 Senegal (Sadio Mane)

11 minSenegal deservedly take the lead. A cross is only half-cleared to Sabaly and after the defender sees a shot poorly dealt with by Kawashima, the ball rebounds off Mane and goes into the net.

13 minIt is still early days but this could easily develop into a one-sided game. Japan just looked overawed. As we mentioned in the build-up, Senegal look a well-drilled team. Each player knows their role in the team.

15 minMuch better from Japan who finally put Senegal under a bit of pressure. Hasebe - who has only scored twice in 111 matches - lets fly from distance but his shot is blocked and Senegal clear.

17 minThat burst forward has put Senegal back onto the defensive. Cisse is a fan of ensuring that their opponents do not build up a head of steam.

19 minJapan are at least looking much more settled now. They are getting to grips with what Senegal are about. They have won a set piece on the left flank.

21 minThe free kick comes to nothing but Senegal's clearance gives Japan the chance to build another move and win a corner on the right.

22 minCHANCE! That corner is soon cleared and Senegal break down the right through Wague, who finds N'Diaye by the penalty spot with a cross. The Villarreal man cannot make a solid connection with his volley, however, and Kawashima makes the save.

24 minN'Diaye looks like he is the most advanced of Senegal's three central midfielders. I expected Stoke's Ndiaye to be making more headway into the final third.

26 minMane is starting to come into the game now. He deceives Yoshida down the right-hand side of the penalty area but the Southampton defender gets back to leave his former Saints teammate having to settle for a corner.

28 minThis game has been lacking in shots on goal but it's very competitive. We predicted tight and that it what we are getting.

30 minWe go through the half-hour mark with Senegal playing the ball backwards in order to keep hold of possession. It's a common feature but it keeps Japan doing the chasing in what are humid conditions.

32 minBit of concern here for Senegal as Mane goes down. He appeared to twist his knee rather than take a knock from a defender. The winger is back on his feet but that is one to keep an eye on.

34 minGOAL! Japan 1-1 Senegal (Takashi Inui)

34 minHello - Japan have equalised and in some style, too! A raking ball finds Nagatomo on the left and after the full-back turns inside, he tees up Inui who curls the ball into the far corner from 16 yards. Brilliant finish.

36 minThat goal has rocked Senegal who had looked comfortable. Japan's greater energy is a good match for Senegal's strength. The Asian nation remain in the ascendancy.

38 minSenegal haven't been getting Sarr on the ball too often but when they do, he is happy to run directly at Nagatomo. The wideman does well on this occasions but a second Japanese defender helps see off the danger.

40 minCHANCE! Senegal should be ahead for a second time. Niang is sent clear of the Japan defence but rather than lob Kawashima - who had come off his line - the forward instead attempted to volley to his right, giving the stopper the chance to save.

42 minAs we head towards half time, Senegal are starting to get on top again. They have probably shaded this opening 42 minutes.

43 minSenegal win a corner on the left-hand side but the inswinging delivery is low and ends up being cleared after Sane fails to make a flick-on at the near post.

45 minA free kick is then won around 40 yards from goal but as many as five Senegal players are all caught offside as Japan step up. There will be one minute of added-on time.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Japan 1-1 Senegal

4.48pmThe half-time whistle goes in Yekaterinburg and a competitive half of football comes to a close with the spoils currently being shared. It has been a clash of styles but it has made for an intriguing contest.

4.52pmThere was an element of luck about Senegal's first goal but Kawashima's mistake was an unforced one and it resulted in the ball rebounding off Mane before finding the bottom corner. Mane has now scored 15 goals for his country.

4.56pmJapan's equaliser certainly wasn't fortuitous. Good work from Nagatomo led to Inui being teed up inside the penalty area and after the Real Betis man showed great composure from around 16 yards out, he proceeded to curl the ball into the far corner of the net.

4.59pmBarring any fitness issues, we are not expecting any changes from either side. Both Nishino and Cisse will be relatively pleased with what they have witnessed in the first half.

46 minKICKOFF! We are back underway. Big 45 minutes coming up.

47 minJust like with the start of the game, Senegal waste no time in going onto the offensive and a corner is won from a threatening cross from Sarr. The resulting delivery is good - better than any in the opening 45 minutes - but Japan scramble clear.

49 minCHANCE! Japan hit back with a cross from the left which causes all kinds of problems. Osako gets the chance to head on goal from around 10 yards out but N'Diaye makes a comfortable save.

50 minSHOT! Senegal go straight up the other and Niang drills a volley over the crossbar from the edge of the area. The ball sat up for him so the striker should have done better.

52 minSHOT! Ndiaye now curls over from distance. It has been a really open start to this second half! Both teams are not settling for a point.

54 minThere have been no more efforts but the intent is still there. Senegal look particularly lively.

56 minSHOT! Niang's shooting in this game has not been up to scratch but the striker does better here, with a low attempt from 20 yards being saved by Kawashima down to his left.

58 minBOOKING! Niang has gone into the book for the use of his arms when challenging for a high ball but in no way is it a yellow card!

60 minCHANCE! What a chance for Japan! A low ball is sent into the Senegal penalty area and Osako should score from inside the six-yard box. Instead, he misses his kick and the ball goes wide of the far post.

62 minSenegal shout for a penalty after Sarr's powerful run is halted on the edge of the area but the referee says no. It's open to debate but it looks a penalty in our opinion!

64 minWOODWORK! Now Japan hit the bar! This is turning into an outstanding game. Japan put together a fine move down the left and it ends with Inui curling the ball over N'Diaye and onto the top of the crossbar.

65 minSUBSTITUTION! The first change of the match sees Kouyate introduced to replace N'Diaye - the other one - in the centre of midfield.

68 minBOOKING! There will not be many more blatant fouls than this. Sarr surges past Inui and is about to cross into the penalty area but the Japanese midfielder cynically brings the winger down.

69 minAfter a long wait for the set piece, Senegal try to be smart and play the ball short on the edge of the penalty area but it goes straight to a Japan player!

71 minGOAL! Japan 1-2 Senegal (Moussa Wague)

71 minSenegal are back in front! Sabaly's low cross is flicked into the path of Wague by Niang and the full-back runs onto the ball and drills a shot into the roof of the net from an acute angle. It's his first international goal.

72 minSUBSTITUTION! Japan's first change sees Kagawa withdrawn for Honda. Interesting switch from Nishino!

74 minJapan have put a lot into this game so you have to wonder how much they have left. Senegal have been more reserved so you would think that they have an advantage in the fitness stakes.

75 minSUBSTITUTION! Okazaki has also been introduced by Japan, with Haraguchi making way.

78 minGOAL! Japan 2-2 Senegal (Keisuke Honda)

78 minCometh the hour, cometh the Honda! Senegal make a complete mess of a cross and after Inui retrieves the ball on the touchline, his low cross finds Honda at the back post and he makes no mistake from six yards. Honda becomes the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups!

80 minThere are only 10 minutes remaining but I think we are going to get a winner. This match is so open now. Senegal still have two substitutes in reserve.

81 minSUBSTITUTION! Make that just one. Birmingham City's Ndoye replaces Stoke's Ndiaye.

83 minWe suggested that Senegal may be the fresher of these two sides but it's Japan who are making all of the headway. They feel that they can force another mistake out of their opponents.

86 minSUBSTITUTION! Senegal's third change sees Biram Diouf introduced for Niang, who is limping off.

87 minSUBSTITUTION! Japan's final alteration sees Inui replaced by Usami. The changes have disrupted the rhythm of this game.

89 minNeither team are content with a point. It's refreshing to see when a draw from this game could go a long way to securing a place in the last 16.

90 minBOOKING! Sabaly comes in-field to halt a counter-attack and deservedly goes into the book.

90+1 minBOOKING! Ndoye is also booked for leading with the arm. There will be four minutes of added-on time.

90+3 minJapan have seen most of the ball over the past two minutes but they are in possession in the wrong half of the pitch. We could have seen the last of the chances.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Japan 2-2 Senegal

5.56pmThe full-time whistle goes in Yekaterinburg and this match has ended in a 2-2 draw, which will be regarded as a good result for both teams. It's also a fair one, with Japan twice fighting back to earn what could prove to be a crucial point.

5.58pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us today and we hope that you can stick around for the other match in this group between Poland and Colombia, with our coverage starting in just a few minutes.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.

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The Japan team line up before their friendly game with Switzerland on June 8, 2018
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