Colombia defeated Senegal 1-0 at the Samara Arena on Thursday to advance to the round of 12 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as group winners.
Barcelona defender Yerry Mina was the match winner for Colombia, scoring a header in the 74th minute of the encounter. The goal was Mina’s second goal at the tournament.
Colombia finished as Group H winners with six points with a goal difference of +3.
Senegal who were the only African team left in the tournament finished third despite being tied on the same points (four) and goal difference (0) with Japan. The Asians advanced based on their better fair play record as they have received fewer yellow cards than Senegal.
The Africans were denied a penalty after centre referee Milorad Mazic reviewed Davinson Sanchez’s challenge on Saido Mane, who was through one-on-one on goal in the box.
Video Assistant Referee reviews showed that Sanchez got the ball before Mane went to ground and the referee overturned his initial decision to give Senegal a penalty.
Colombia suffered a setback on the half hour mark when their star man James Rodriguez was forced off against due to an injury. The 2014 Golden Boot winner was subbed off for Luis Muriel.
A corner was powered in by Mina, which sent Colombia to the next round alongside other South American teams, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina.
At Volgograd Arena, Japan lost 1-0 to Poland but advanced to the round of 16 of the competition on fair play points as they have fewer yellow cards than Senegal.
Unmarked Southampton defender Jan Bednarek scored in the 59th minute for Poland with a volley from close range.
This is the first time since 1982 that no African side has reached the last sixteen of a World Cup tournament. Senegal also became the first side to be eliminated by the fair play rule.
Japan will take on Sweden in St Petersburg on July 3 in a round of 16 clash while Colombia will face the runners-up in Group G (England or Belgium).