Japan, Senegal draw to keep World Cup last-16 hopes alive

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Japan, Senegal draw to keep World Cup last-16 hopes alive

Keisuke Honda has become the highest scoring Asian player in World Cup history with his fourth goal in the competition coming in a 2-2 draw against Senegal on Sunday.

But Honda, who entered the match in the 72nd to replace Shinji Kagawa, was on hand to slam home a chance in the 78th, pulling his team level at 2-2 and keeping them joint-top of the group.

Japan's goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima (L) celebrates with Japan's midfielder Makoto Hasebe (R) as Senegal's defender Salif Sane kneels on the pitch at the end of the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group H football match between Japan and Senegal at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Ekaterinburg on June 24, 2018.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane will again captain the Senegal side and he will be partnered by Ismaila Sarr and Mbaye Niang in a three-pronged attack.

Senegal had the better of the first half, and Japan offered little until Takashi Inui's curler beat Khadim Ndiaye 34 minutes in.

Mane found himself at left-back at one point as the Blue Samurai threatened to slice their way through, in what was growing to be an absorbing contest in the warm Yekaterinburg evening.

The Africans' lead did not last long, though, with Japan equalising for the second time when a goalmouth scramble inside the box saw the loose ball fall to Keisuke Honda, who passed the ball into the back of the net from close range, 2-2.

Inui then struck the bar from distance after the Senegal defence went AWOL.

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