Yuya Osako scored a second-half winner as Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in their opening Group H match at Saransk at the World Cup finals in Russia, on June 19.
Japan stunned the much-fancied South Americans by taking the lead after just six minutes, Shinji Kagawa slotting a penalty kick after Carlos Sanchez was sent off for handling the Dortmund midfielder’s shot into the box.
Despite being a man down, the Colombians leveled from a dubiously awarded free kick late in the first half, Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima unable to prevent Juan Quintero’s shot under the wall from creeping over the line.
But Osako put Japan back in front in the 73rd minute, climbing to head home substitute Keisuke Honda’s corner to seal victory and help the four-time Asian champions avenge their 4-1 loss to Colombia in the group phase at the last World Cup in Brazil.
Japan’s next game, against Senegal, was set for June 24 at Ekaterinburg Arena. (Kyodo)