Published: Fri, June 29, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Japan unchanged as Senegal bring in Ndiaye

Japan unchanged as Senegal bring in Ndiaye

Senegal have never been beaten by Japan in the teams' three meetings and are one of three African countries to reach the World Cup quarterfinals - a feat that has eluded Japan in their five tries.

Japan coach Akira Nishino said he thought his defenders did a "pretty good job" against Mane.

Even a great friendship between players who used to be at the same club has its limits when it comes to the World Cup.

Both teams now have four points from two games and have identical records atop the group.

Senegal boss Aliou Cisse chose to put three up front for the match at Ekaterinburg Arena, his team's first against an Asian opponent at a World Cup.

"Of course there is a ball, and through using the ball we are going to take on Senegal".

He can accelerate with the ball and make something happen, and effectively exploited the space down Colombia's right.

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And after a shock opening 2-1 defeat by Japan, helped by Carlos Sanchez's early red card, Jose Pekerman's side found their groove in a 3-0 win over Poland today.

Japan twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Senegal in their World Cup Group H encounter on Sunday.

"We understand what their strengths are but will be looking to exploit their weaknesses", the 32-year-old told Japanese reporters at the team's base in Kazan on Friday.

Kouyate replaced Alfred N'Diaye with 25 minutes to play as substitute Keisuke Honda's late strike secured Japan a point, keeping them at the top of group H with one match remaining. Although the left-back's shot on goal was fairly tame, Eiji Kawashima opted to punch instead of catch and could only divert it into Mane, who watched on in delight as the ball ricocheted off him into the back of the net. Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was held off the scoresheet against Poland, he is paying +461 to score the game's first goal and +168 to score at any time during the game. But it seems the Senegalese team prefers to warm-up that way as it may pep them up.

"We are not fearful of Senegal at all", he said.

Nishino went on to say his players would counter the physical challenge by using "our brains to come up with strategies" and they would put their skill on the ball to use against the West Africans.

The two sides will need a good result in their final round of matches to progress to the next round of the competition.

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