Japan v Senegal – 20.06.2018 – Betting Tip
Japan could have hardly imagined a better kick off to the World Cup than the one they’ve enjoyed on Tuesday afternoon in Saransk. Samurai Blue grabbed a highly-important 2-1 victory in the tournament opener to stun ten-man Colombia and raise the spirits ahead of the following outings with Senegal and Poland.
Can they capitalize on the victorious start to the campaign on Sunday when a win over Senegal would see them likely secure the knockout phase?
The Japanese side arrived in Russia with a number of controversies and questions which altogether greatly affected the atmosphere in Akira Nishino’s dressing room. Nevertheless, they profited significantly from a terrible reaction by Espanyol’s Carlos Sanchez who was sent off for handling Kagawa’s deflected shot which went straight into Colombia’s goal.
It has been anything but a one-way street for the Asian outfit ever since that third minute, though. Colombians still proved quality to prevent Japan from dominating the court in spite of having an extra man, they got the equalizer, but failed to hold on to the draw as the most influential figure on the pitch, Yuya Osako, headed Keisuke Honda’s corner home to regain the lead for Nishino’s troops late on.
The Japanese side held it on until the final whistle to become the first Asian team to beat the South American opposition in the history of World Cups. The veteran forward Keisuke Honda left an immediate impact since coming on from the bench, setting up a goal in third different edition of the World Cup.
Senegal got Africa up and running after the continent saw each of their four nations lose their opening ties at the World Cup (Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia). It was by no means an inspiring performance from Aliou Cisse’s troops in Moscow, but it was good enough to give them the pole position after the initial round in a very open Group H.
It was never going to be a high-scoring contest given team’s defensive set-ups, but as many as three goals were seen in Senegal’s opener with Poland. The first one came after a huge deflection off the Polish defender Thiago Cionek, while the second saw M’Baye Niang taking advantage of a terrible back-pass from the centre of the park to beat Jan Bednarek and Wojciech Szczesny on the ball and slot into an empty net.
Team’s star man Sadio Mane was marked heavily posing no danger up front. He should have somewhat more space past the Japanese back-line which looked to be fairly easy to break down in pre-World Cup friendlies.
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Head to Head and Stats
The two nations did not have the chance to lock horns in the past.
Our Tips and Predictions
Both sides head into the game off the back of inaugural wins and another success here would likely send the victors to the knockout phase even before the final set of clashes in the group. Senegal did leave the better impression defensively and Japanese front line could face troubles breaking them down on the day.
We expect no changes to the side that defeated Poland, meaning Everton’s Idrissa Gueye and Wolves’ Alfred N’Diaye should start as defensive midfielders. This duo has an excellent cooperation with the centre-back pair consisted of Salif Sane and Kalidou Koulibaly. Such strategy saw Cisse’s men concede only two goals in last five internationals, counting the set-piece consolation goal from Poland on Tuesday. Senegal to keep a clean sheet is one of the top betting tips you can take here. The odds for such scenario are set at 11/8 (2.37).
Most betting sites in Kenya offer Senegal to win at 23/20, but we will rather back the low-scoring contest expecting neither of two managers to take unnecessary risks here. The Under 2.5 goals FT at 4/7 (1.57) certainly looks to be the safest of betting tips you can take from this affair.