Japan edge Senegal to top Group D

Substitute Jun Nishikawa’s second-half strike lifted Japan past Senegal on Saturday and into Group D’s top spot at the FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament in Brazil.

 Already well-positioned to advance, the Japanese left nothing to chance. Both sides gave key players a breather in this game, rotating their squads.

The Samurai Blue were dominant for nearly all of the first period, running the Senegal defence all over the pitch and connecting bunches of short passes in their attacking buildup. Shinya Nakano pinged the crossbar a minute into first-half stoppage time, the closest the Japanese would come until Nishikawa’s winner in the 83rd minute.

Though their next match date (November 6) and location (Brasilia) are confirmed, they will need to wait another day to learn their opponents.

Top scorer Pape Sarr spent the entire match on the bench for the Indomitable Lions, who had already secured a last-16 spot after their win over the Netherlands.

Looking a step slower than Japan in the first half, Senegal became more physically dominant in the second 45 minutes, though they did not create many clear-cut chances on goal. Awaiting them in the Round of 16 will be the winner of Group E. – FIFA.com

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