Japan’s historic Colombia triumph

Japan became the first Asian nation to defeat a South American team at World Cup after defeating 10-man Colombia 2-1 yesterday.

The Group H opener started in calamitous fashion when Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez was handed the second-fasted red card in World Cup history after a handball in the penalty area, leaving Shinji Kagawa to stroke home the resulting penalty.

Jose Pekerman’s side rallied late in the first half though, restoring parity through Juan Quintero’s free kick. The FC Porto man snuck a clever strike under the Japanese wall that squirmed over the line despite the best efforts of Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima.

Colombia gloveman David Ospina was kept busy in the second stanza, with the Arsenal man first pulling off a solid stop at the near post to deny Yuya Osaka before acrobatically palming away an effort from Takashi Inui minutes later.

However, he was arguably at fault for Osaka’s winner with 18 minutes remaining, as the FC Koln forward beat the Colombia goalkeeper to Keisuke Honda’s corner to hand Japan an opening win.

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