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Vital for Japan to 'neutralise' Senegal star Mane - Nishino

11:31 PM GMT+4 24/06/2018
Sadio Mane Hiroki Sakai Japan Senegal World Cup 2018 240618
Senegal's Liverpool star made a strong start against the Asian side before fading in the second half, leaving the manager to hail a job well done

Akira Nishino has praised his Japan players for suppressing the threat posed by the pace of Sadio Mane during the 2-2 draw with Senegal in Ekaterinburg on Sunday.

Japan twice came from behind to earn a point and remain on track to earn a place in the round of 16.

Liverpool star Mane posed plenty of problems to the Samurai Blue's backline early in the contest, but the 26-year-old forward struggled to make his presence felt after the break.

"Of course, it is very important to neutralise Mane and [Hiroki] Sakai did a pretty good job neutralising him and dulling his threat," Nishino told a news conference.

"What we were more concerned about was him giving a positive impact to other players, especially in the first half when we let him and other players play too freely. 

"But after that I think we did pretty well."

Japan fell behind when Eiji Kawashima tried to punch clear a low cross and succeeded only in firing the ball off the legs of Mane and back into his own net, but Nishino is not concerned about the impact of the error on the morale of the experienced goalkeeper. 

"I don't think it [the delivery] was anything difficult but he made that decision which is regrettable," he said.

"However, he recovered well and he was very Kawashima-like after that. He corrected himself and made a very good save. 

"I'm sure he's regretting that decision after conceding that goal. We need to analyse this situation better."

Up next for Japan is a meeting with Poland in Volgograd, where Nishino expects his players to be confident. 

"To secure a passage to the round of 16 after two matches was the highest of my goals and after the victory in the first match we wanted to be really aggressive towards the second match," he said.

"Of course, we wanted another three points and secure the passage to the knockout stage, which did not come through, but I think the result that we have is going to have a very positive impact on the third match."