SARANSK, Russia, June 19 (Reuters): Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in Group H on Tuesday to become the first Asian side to beat a South American one at the World Cup.
Asian teams had managed three draws in 17 matches against South American sides but the four-times Asian champions made their extra man count after Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez became the first player to get a red card in Russia. Shinji Kagawa scored from the resulting penalty to give Japan the lead.
Juan Quintero's clever low free kick in the 39th minute brought Colombia's equaliser but Yuya Osako leapt above his marker to head a corner into the net for the 73rd-minute winner.
It was a sweet revenge for Japan, who were thumped 4-1 by Colombia in Brazil four years ago, but they wasted plenty of chances to kill the game off.
Kagawa went close in the 16th minute but his shot rolled past the post and Osako fired against the face of goal from a dangerous position in the box.
With Japan dominating in midfield, Colombia's Argentine coach Jose Pekerman opted to sacrifice Juan Cuadrado around the half hour mark to send on defensive midfielder Wilmar Barrios.
That gave Colombia extra control and their all-time leading scorer and captain Radamel Falcao came more into the game.
© 2017 - All Rights with The Financial Express