Japan progressed to the round of 16 of the FIFA U17 World Cup with a 1-0 defeat of African nation Senegal. The match which was characterized by a flurry of chances saw Senegal rest their key players after securing qualification with two wins in a row.
The Japanese were on the offensive and were in control of the game in the opening stages testing the opposition stopper from range. The changes to the team affected Senegal who could not create many opportunities to get a foothold on the game.
The game ended goalless in the first half with the Japanese team heading into the break as the better team. the second half continued in the same manner with Shinya Nakano hitting the crossbar with a special shot from outside the box.
Just towards the end of the game the pressure eventually told as the Senegalese defence was breached. Substitute forward Jun Nishikawa subsequently squeezed the ball home from the tightest of angles.
The Senegalese coach will be disappointed as his team was unable to use their strength and physicality against the Japanese team. The knockout phase is important with little error in judgment from teams.
Senegal top scorer Pape Sarr will have to provide the goals in their knockout phase which would elongate their stay in the country.
Another African team Nigeria also slumped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to the Australian team. In a match that was dominated by the Nigerian team, wayward shooting was the order of the day. Australia were able to capitalise on their plan of sitting deep and breaking on the counter.
Nigerian manager Manu Garba after the game expressed his dissatisfaction with the way the game panned out, VAR was also in action as it awarded a penalty to the Australian team after a clumsy tackle from the Nigerian defender.