Yerry Mina’s header put Colombia top of the group and Senegal became the first side to exit the World Cup on the Fair Play rules.
Senegal and Japan finished level on points and goals, so it went down to the fact the Africans had two more yellow cards – and they were given to M’Baye Niang.
This was a head-to-head for qualification to the Round of 16, as Colombia lost their opener to Japan after Carlos Sanchez – who returned from suspension here – was sent off in the opening five minutes, while Senegal beat Poland and drew 2-2 with the Blue Samurai. Ex-Lazio striker Keita Balde Diao started alongside Torino’s M’Baye Niang in a new fast-paced partnership.
Senegal were awarded a penalty on 17 minutes, but VAR confirmed Davinson Sanchez got the ball with a sensational sliding tackle on Sadio Mane and the referee reversed his decision.
James Rodriguez limped off to make way for ex-Sampdoria striker Luis Muriel and Niang was booked for a high foot on Yerry Mina, meaning he’d be suspended if Senegal progressed.
Colombia had a great chance when Muriel’s half-volley was deflected wide off Kalidou Koulibaly and Radamel Falcao nodded the resulting corner over.
Muriel threatened again, forcing Ndiaye to rush off his line and clear from the striker, and took the lead with Yerry Mina’s towering header from a corner. It was the defender’s second goal in as many games.
Suddenly the group was transformed, with Japan losing and still in second place, pushing Senegal out of the tournament simply because they had two more yellow cards than Japan. Curiously, Niang received two of them.
Niang’s angled drive stung David Ospina’s gloves, but Ismaila Sarr horribly miskicked a Mane cross and Senegal’s late push came to nothing.
Senegal 0-1 Colombia
Yerry Mina 75 (C)
Senegal: KH Ndiaye; Gassama, S Sane, Koulibaly, Sabaly (M Wague 74); Ismaila, C Kouyate, Gana, Mane; Keita Balde Diao (Konate 80), Niang (Sakho 86)
Colombia: Ospina; Arias, D Sanchez, Y Mina, J Mojica; M Uribe (Lerma 83), C Sanchez; Cuadrado, Quintero, James Rodriguez (Muriel 32); Falcao (M Borja 89)
Ref: Mazic (SRB)