Japan twice got here from behind to seal a 2-2 draw in opposition to Senegal in Yekaterinburg on Sunday to make sure neither facet are sure of their Last 16 place heading into the closing spherical of Group H clashes.
The Lions of Teranga started the recreation in the identical vein as they’d performed their opener in opposition to Poland, however they misplaced their initiative as the contest wore on and had been underneath the cosh for a lot of the second half.
There had been moments of fantastic interaction between Sadio Mane and Ismaila Sarr, whereas the full-backs – Moussa Wague and Youssouf Sabaly – had been each glorious.
Mbaye Niang’s ending left so much to be desired at instances, however he was a wonderful foil for the extra delicate attackers, and in addition created possibilities for his teammates.
Unfortunately, Senegal did not play to their strengths, and surprisingly did not take the initiative in opposition to a Japan facet who had been poor for lengthy stretches of their opener in opposition to Colombia.
Their passing was too usually careless, their ending was underwhelming – with 5 photographs astray – and so they struggled technically, significantly when Japan started to make use of the ball extra shortly throughout the second interval.
Offensively, Senegal’s set items should additionally enhance.
Manager ranking (out of 10):
6 – Aliou Cisse launched Badou Ndiaye for Mame Biram Diouf as the sole change to the facet that began the opener in opposition to Poland. It was one thing of a detrimental change, with Cisse seeking to bolster the midfield in the face of Japan’s supposed technical benefit.
He may need been higher introducing one other quick, highly effective runner to the ahead line and inspiring the Lions to have performed with the identical directness and vibrancy as they employed to down Poland.
As Japan took management after the break, Cisse’s solely technique gave the impression to be to introduce Chiekhou Kouyate and Chiekh Ndoye so as to add extra presence to the midfield.
Player rankings (1-10, with 10 the finest. Players launched after 70 minutes get no ranking):
GK Khadim N’Diaye, 5 — Safe arms to disclaim 15 early in second half, and was unlucky to have been duped by a deflection for Japan’s first equaliser.
However, he was horribly caught out for Japan’s second after failing to say a cross, though Salif Sane should take a few of the blame.
DF Youssef Sabaly, eight — Again made a giant contribution, contributing the help for Mane’s opener, and labored tirelessly all day.
His technical proficiency shone by means of in comparison with a few of his teammates, notably with a pleasant little flip to create some house for himself in the build-up to Senegal’s second.
DF Salif Sane, 7 — Communication was missing with N’Diaye for Japan’s second, not as imperious as he had been in opposition to Poland when confronted with a unique form of menace.
Nonetheless, it was one other sturdy show and he gained a whopping 9 aerial battles.
DF Kalidou Koulibaly, 6 — Better on the floor than his defensive companion, however not as commanding. Too usually he left his place to trace Osako and left disorganisation behind him!
DF Moussa Wague, eight — Another encouraging show by the right-back, no less than going ahead and he was the hero of the hour after netting the Lions’ second.
His crossing was testing all through – notably for Senegal’s opener – though he was barely caught out for Japan’s equaliser and an excessive amount of got here down his facet throughout the second interval.
No one on the park created extra goalscoring possibilities than the teenage full-back.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 6 — A quiet show by the central midfielder. He noticed loads of the ball when Senegal had been in possession, however he was bypassed worryingly simply when Japan had been in full movement.
MF Alfred N’Diaye, 6 — Not significantly influential, and Japan had been too usually taking part in by means of him earlier than he was changed simply after the hour mark.
MF Badou NDiaye, 6 — Introduced to the facet at the expense of Diouf, and whereas he labored exhausting defensively – he made two interceptions – his ending let him down when present in a promising place.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 — Was way more influential than he had been in Senegal’s opening recreation, even when most of his finest work was finished in a barely deeper function.
His anticipation and positioning allowed him to capitalise on Kawashima’s error to web the opener, and he drew three fouls from the opposition and created two goalscoring possibilities.
FW Mbaye Niang, 7 — Led the line alone, and proved a handful for the Japan backline along with his energy.
Had a good left-footed prodded effort saved in the first half after being performed in by Ndiaye, and fired straight at Kawashima after the pause.
While he grew annoyed with the shut attentions by the Japanese defenders, he nonetheless performed a significant contribution in the winner and created three goalscoring possibilities.
FW Ismaila Sarr, 7 — Another brilliant displaying from the wideman. He was concerned in the interaction for Senegal’s opener, and later had a falling effort saved by Kawashima after once more dovetailing effectively with Wague down the proper flank.
MF Cheikhou Kouyate, 6 — Introduced on 65 minutes as Cisse sought to wrest again midfield management and rein in a Japan facet who had been on the ascendency.
MF Cheikh Ndoye, N/R
FW Mame Biram Diouf, N/R