The Blue Samurais of Japan put on a warring display to claw back a point against a bulky Senegalese side blessed with pace, power and history.
Senegal has never lost to Japan in three encounters and this historical state coincided with their confident performance in Russia to make Japan a bit of the underdog in this Group H encounter.
But all two Senegalese goals from Niang and Wague got replies from Inui and Honda to leave the Senegalese tasting the draw like a defeat.
Senegal played a 4-3-3 perhaps with Mane in mind seeing that's the exact tactical set up in Liverpool that brings the best out of the star.
And to a measured extent, it did as the Senegalese got his first goal albeit a low punch from the keeper at the near post that ricocheted off his knee in the 11minute to put the most daring African side ahead.
The goal, a reward from the positive attacking display which saw Sabaly get an opportunity to fire a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box after a weaker Japanese header out of the box fell to him.
No need for Brazilian finesse shots as Sabaly showed his love for power and hope for precision. The fierce shot was too hot for Eiji Kawashima who punched it to Mane who from close range was at the right place and the right time to allow his body to do the work without the application of any more effort.
Japan found an advantage in their disadvantaged featherweight physique with very good off the ball movement and pace to locate collect long laser passes from the wide areas.
These kinds of passes would worry the Teranga Lions the entire game because once it found a man, the Samurai warriors playing a 4-2-3-1 would suddenly find several support options to choose from to leave the Senegalese in moments of panic.
The Japanese pulled level in the 34th minute through a brilliant effort by Takashi Inui. The former Eibar star curled a perfect one in the 18-yard box to beat the outstretched hand of the Senegalese goal keeper to draw level.
Back from the recess, it was the Japanese who to took the game to the West Africans by creating decent chances and missing them with ease. Inui nearly got a brace but his perfectly struck shot just at the edge of the 18-yard box hit the top right corner of the bar much to the delight of the Senegalese.
Totally against the run of play, Senegal got their noses in front from the 19-year-old Mousa Wague in the 71st minute.
He latched onto a perfect cross on the left before firing at close range for the second goal for the Senegalese. The Japanese responded seven minutes later and it was Honda who announced his presence with the much-needed equaliser from close range.
Senegal and Japan are now joint leaders of Group H with four points apiece having beaten Poland and Colombia respectively in the opening games.