Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Japan beat 10-man Colombia to create history

Japan beat 10-man Colombia to create history

Colombia's Carlos Sanchez received a red card for blocking Kagawa's shot on goal with his extended right arm.

Shinji Kagawa scored from the resulting penalty to give Japan the lead in the Group H match.

Despite being down to 10 men, Colombia didn't lose heart after going one goal down and remained confident, deservingly getting the equaliser before halftime.

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima fails to stop a free kick shot by Colombia's Juan Quintero during the group H match between Colombia and Japan at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Mordavia Arena in Saransk, Russia, on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

Colombia equalised shortly before half-time through Juan Quintero's free-kick, but Japan dominated the second half and were good value for Yuya Osako's late victor.

This is the first World Cup tournament in which as many as four South American teams have failed to win their opening game since 1974. The team joins Mexico, Switzerland and Iceland in earning surprising results.

Japan have become the first ever Asian side to defeat South American opposition at the World Cup (P18 W1 D3 L14).

The midfielder, who was the leading scorer at the World Cup four years ago with six goals in five games, missed training on Friday with muscle fatigue.

Jonathan Evans adapted this story based on the Associated Press news report.

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Japan were back to their technical best in the second half, maintaining possession before they were rewarded with a second goal from a Keisuke Honda corner.

With only the first matches of the group stages concluding today, there have already been more free-kicks scored this summer than in Brazil 2014, and what a collection of goals they have been so far.

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.

Although Sanchez recovered from that early mistake and improved as the game went on, there was a bit of shakiness about him throughout the entire 90 minutes.

The referee had no hesitation in showing a straight red to the Colombia midfielder and, from the resultant penalty, Kagawa kept his goal in stroking a shot straight down the middle.

"Our players were aggressive from the start and I think that worked very well for us".

While Carlos Sanchez took the fall, namesake Davinson was equally at fault as he allowed a ball over the top to bounce in the build-up to the penalty incident, giving Osaka a chance to shoot and Kagawa the opportunity to pounce on the follow-up.

Pekerman brought on 2014 World Cup Golden Boot victor James Rodriguez in the second half but the Bayern Munich star, not fully recovered from a calf injury, was not allowed much of the ball by a disciplined, energetic Japan side.

When the game was due to start, Falcao walked across to Japan's side of the field and spoke to referee Damir Skomina in a discussion that lasted beyond the official countdown to kickoff.

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