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World Cup 2018: Osako heads Japan to 2-1 win over 10-man Colombia


It was sweet revenge for Japan as Yuya Oskao headed his side home to a 2-1 win over a 10-man Colombia at the Mordovia Arena on Monday. Carlos Sanchez was shown a straight red as early as the third minute for handling the ball inside their own penalty box.

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Juan Quintero had levelled the scores for Colombia in the 39th minute after Shinji Kagawa has put Japan ahead from the spot in what was just the sixth minute of the match. But FC Koln forward Osako leaped the highest from a Keisuke Honda corner in the 73rd minute to snatch the winner for ‘Samurai Blue.’

The victory not only earned Japan a well deserved revenge after their 4-1 defeat against the same opposition four years ago, but also made them the first Asian side to beat any South American team at the World Cup finals.

It was a dominating display by Japan against the more favoured opposition, keeping not just 62% of the ball but also firing 14 shots, five of which were on target. Colombia in contrast failed to fire a single shot on goal in the final 45 minutes, as the Asian side relentlessly attacked nearly adding a third when Hiroki Sakai swinged a delicious ball in the ‘El Tricolor‘ box in the 85th minute. Oskao however failed to get enough behind it as David Ospina cleared.

Colombia earlier had the worst possible start to the match, with Carlos Sanchez dramatically earning a send-off in just the third minute for putting his hand out to save Kagawa’s shot after Ospina had failed to collect a long ranger from Osako. Referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot and Kagawa made no mistake, rolling down the ball through the middle to give Japan the lead.

Already a man down, Colombia found it tough going forward with Quintero forced to play a deeper role – one he is not acquainted it. Yet everytime the Yellow boys came close to scoring, the River Plate midfielder was at the center. His flick in the 15th minute nearly got his side back into the game, but Radamel Falcao failed to get a proper contact on the ball.

It was a mirrored image 16 minutes later, as Falcao once again got just his toe on the ball after Quintero had split the Japan defence with another sublime lofted ball. Playing his debut World Cup game, after missing the tournament four years ago because of an injury, ‘El Tigre‘ however failed to light up the occasion.

Colombia’s star in 2014 and the youngest player to score five or more goals in any World Cup edition, James Rodriguez came on late as a substitute and although he was welcomed with cheers, the only time the former Real Madrid man came close was when his shot was blocked by Osako in the 78th minute.

Colombia next face Poland on June 24 and will hope for a turnaround if they are to make another knockout appearance at the world’s grandest stage. Japan meanwhile play Senegal on the same night and require just another victory to reach the next round.

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