In catching Colombia cold at the Mordovia Arena, Japan earned their first ever win over LosCafeteros, avenging their 4-1 defeat to the same opponents at Brazil 2014, and picked up three precious points in their bid to advance from Group H.
The game began at a frenetic pace, with Japan forcing a penalty that led to a red card for Colombia defender Carlos Sanchez allowing Shinji Kagawa to put the Asian side ahead from the spot. Cafetero coach Jose Pekerman shuffled his pack to give his side a chance of overcoming their numerical disadvantage and getting back into the game. Battling for every ball, Colombia captain Radamel Falcao earned the free-kick from which Juan Quintero equalised before half-time.
Japan dominated the second half, creating a series of chances before Yuya Osako headed in the winner from a set-piece. This time there was to be no comeback, despite the arrival of James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca on the pitch and a valiant late push by Los Cafeteros.
Budweiser Man of the Match
Japan forward Osako was fully involved in the game right from the start, winning the ball to start the move that led to Japan’s early penalty. He then rose above the Colombian defence to nod in his side’s winner.