Japan defeated 10-man Colombia 2-1 in their 2018 FIFA World Cup opening Group H clash at Mordovia Arena, Saransk on Tuesday.
Yuya Osako headed in the winner after Juan Quintero’s 39th minute free-kick had cancelled out Shinji Kagawa’s third minute openee from the spot.
Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the third minute of the defeat after he stopped a goal-bound shot with his hand in the penalty box .
Despite playing with a man down, Colombia did not let their heads drop as they strived to get back into the game after the setback.
Juan Cuadrado led several attacks but was, curiously, subbed off while Radamel Falcao was a thorn in the flesh of the Japanese defence.
Falcao won a free-kick at the edge of the box in the 39th minute and Qunitero cheekily slotted his shot under the wall which beat Eiji Kawashima in goal.
In the second half, Colombia lacked creativity and never looked like scoring until their manager Jose Pekerman brought on James Rodriguez for Qunitero on the hour mark.
But the Los Cafeteros were stunned in the 73rd minute. Hiroki Sakai’s close-range shot was blocked for a corner and the resultant corner was headed in by Osako.
James’s shot from eight yards was superbly blocked behind by matchwinner Osako.
Japan held off a late challenge from Colombia to become the first Asian team to beat a South American team after 18 attempts at the FIFA World Cup.
It is also the first time Colombia would lose to an Asian side at the World Cup.
Japan will face Senegal in their next game while Colombia will look to redeem their image when they face Poland also in their next game.