Colombia’s midfielder Carlos Sanchez has become the first player to be sent off in the FIFA World Cup 2018 after he was shown a straight red card in the third minute for what was adjudged to be a deliberate handling of the ball in the 18-yeard area.
Shinji Kagawa stepped up to coolly slot the resulting penalty, putting Japan ahead early on.
The South Americans pulled level in the 39th minute, hanging on to go into the break 1-1.
Japan however went back ahead in the second half courtesy of Yuya Osako, before seeing out the game to grab a crucial win that shot them right to the top of Group H ahead of Poland’s clash with Senegal.
Senegal will themselves go into their game bearing a heavy burden, as Africans hope the Teranga lions can become the first African side to grab a win in Russia.
All other four sides lost their first games, and will be looking to bounce back in their second outings.
Egypt will play host Russia later on after Senegal’s game.