Senegal 2- 2 Japan: 4 Things We Learned As Teranga Lions Draw With Japan Featured
25 Jun

Senegal 2- 2 Japan: 4 Things We Learned As Teranga Lions Draw With Japan

Senegal and Japan drew 2-2 in an entertaining encounter in Ekaterinburg, leaving the door open for three teams to grab the two slots.
Both sides were coming off the back of surprising victories in their opening games.
 
With Senegal dispatching Poland and Japan defeating Colombia. The Samurai Blue had Keisuke Honda to thank for his equalizer in the 78th minute.
 
Senegal missed the opportunity to record to successive wins after going ahead on two occasions.
 
Here are four things we learned from the enthralling affair 
 
Japan start slow but finish strongly
 
For the second match in a row, Japan started slowly but finished strongly.
 
That may sound like a strange statement, given that they took the lead against Colombia inside five minutes, but they let that game drift for the remainder of the opening half before eventually asserting control after the interval. Akira Nishino’s men were similarly slow out of the traps against Senegal but their possession play gradually took hold and they were better in the second half.
 
The draw is a very good result for the Samurai Blue and places them in a good position to reach the last 16 ahead of Colombia and Senegal considering their next opponents, Poland, who are out of the competition after losing their two games.
 
Hasebe and Niang offer hope
 
Makoto Hasebe has won over 100 caps for Japan and remains a mainstay of this team at the age of 34. He was superb against the Teranga Lions on Sunday, screening his back four in a deep-lying midfield role and covering brilliantly for his defenders.
 
He read the game well and battled hard against a strong Senegalese presence, and played an integral role in Japan’s build-up play. 
 
Niang on the other hand was handful upfront for the Lions. 
Leading the line alone in a 4-3-3 formation, the Torino forward admirably fulfilled his role and caused problems with his speed and movement, while his touch and hold-up play were also excellent.
 
Both teams satisfied with a point
 
Ultimately, both team battled but neither side could quite find the breakthrough. It was a game of two halves with Senegal gaining control over the first period and Japan taking the second.
 
Both sides had opportunities to grab all points but failed in that regard as they spurned chances. The fans saw desire and passion from the players on the pitch, even if there was a lack of quality on the day and that’s all they can ask for in a cagey affair.
 
Everything still to play for in Group H
 
With Colombia‘s win against Poland, the group is widely opened for three teams; Colombia, Japan and Senegal all capable of reaching the Last 16.
 
Japan and Senegal have four points apiece with Columbia third with three points.
 
Japan next play already eliminated Poland with Colombia and Senegal engaging each other in a must-win encounter. There is still more to play for and surprises are imminent.
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