Yerry Mina’s second-half header on Thursday sent Colombia into a last-16 tie with England at the World Cup at the expense of Senegal, who lost out to Japan having received more yellow cards.
Senegal spent the final 20 minutes pushing for an equaliser which would have sent the African side through – AliouCisse’s side were level with Japan in terms of points and goal difference, but crucially not yellow cards.
Colombia had to win to be sure of their progress but with Poland beating Japan 1-0 in Volgograd, African representation at the World Cup was ended as Senegal failed to secure the point they needed.
The South Americans will face the runners-up from Group G, England, in Moscow on Tuesday, while Japan play winners Belgium in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.
Belgium pip England 1-0 to top Group D on nine points.
Senegal thought they had been awarded a 16th-minute penalty after a tackle by Davinson Sanchez on Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, but the decision was correctly overturned by Champions League final referee Milorad Mazic, with VAR showing the Tottenham defender clearly touched the ball with what was a risky challenge.
Former England midfielder Danny Murphy, speaking on BBC One, called the tackle “the best of the tournament”.
Colombia’s chances were dealt a blow just after the half-hour mark as James Rodriguez was forced off due to injury – having missed the first game with a calf problem – four years to the day since his stunning volley against Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.
But with Barcelona defender Mina’s second consecutive goal from Juan Quintero’s corner sending Colombia through as group winners, Senegal missed out having received two yellow cards more than Japan.
With Senegal’s exit, following that of Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt, Africa is now left with no representative in the round of 16. Russia is a dismal showing for Africa after initial hopes that at least two of its representatives would progress in the tournament.
Austin Ohaegbu with agency