Colombia sends Poland home, after late Japan strike stalls Senegal surge

    Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda celebrates after scoring against Senegal.

    Story highlights

    • Japan 2-2 Senegal
    • Both teams now have four points after two games
    • Colombia beats Colombia 3-0 in late game

    (CNN)Keisuke Honda's late goal put the brakes on Senegal's surge toward the last 16 of the World Cup and ensured Group H remains wide open.

    After an impressive performance against Poland last week, much of the buildup had centered upon the possibility of the Lions of Teranga emulating their feats of 2002, when they became just the third African nation to qualify for the World Cup quarterfinals.
      Manager Aliou Cisse, who captained them sixteen years ago, called upon his players to "write their own history," saying he hoped they could do "at least as well" as his own generation.
      While this is Senegal's first appearance World Cup since those halcyon days, Japan has since been nothing if not consistent, qualifying for the global showpiece on six consecutive occasions.
      Both sides now have a chance of making the second round, but will have to wait until matchday three to book their berth, following an even and entertaining affair at the Ekaterinburg Arena.

      Honda's intervention

      Japan manager Akira Nishino admitted ahead of the game he'd given his players specific instructions to contain the threat of Sadio Mane, but it was the Liverpool forward who opened the scoring after just 11 minutes, capitalizing on an inexplicable punch from goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima to tap home from inside the six yard box.
      Mane celebrates after opening the scoring.
      That goal, Mane's first of the tournament, was the result of Senegal playing with width and repeatedly sending both full backs forward.
      But it was Japan left-back Yuto Nagatamo who made the next decisive contribution, picking it up on the overlap just past the half-hour mark and finding Takashi Inui. The Real Betis winger did the rest, curling a low effort past Khadim N'diane to draw Japan level against the run of play.