Colombia will be spurred on by 'bitter' Japan defeat - Pekerman

Jose Pekerman lamented Carlos Sanchez's early dismissal in Colombia's 2-1 World Cup defeat to Japan on Tuesday.

Although Pekerman was left to rue the loss of Sanchez, he saw enough from his side to remain positive about its chances of progressing from the group.   -  Getty Images

Colombia boss Jose Pekerman believes that his side will use the "bitter memory" of its defeat to Japan to improve as the World Cup progresses.

Pekerman's team - quarterfinalist in 2014 - slumped to a 2-1 loss in Saransk on Tuesday, as Yuya Osako's header secured the points for Japan in the Group H opener.

Carlos Sanchez's early dismissal, the first red card of this World Cup and second-quickest in the tournament's history at two minutes and 56 seconds, for handball put Colombia on the back foot, Shinji Kagawa converting the resulting penalty.

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Juan Fernando Quintero levelled with a smart free-kick, but Colombia ran out of steam late on and Osako nodded home.

Although Pekerman was left to rue the loss of Sanchez, he saw enough from his side to remain positive about its chances of progressing from the group.

"It is tough to lose a player so early, especially one so important. This is going to leave us with a bitter memory," Pekerman said.

READ: Japan's World Cup victory over Colombia sparks celebrations on the streets of Tokyo

"Despite that, we came back. But with Japan having an extra player, it was very hard to recover possession. The positive side of all this is that you could see the team managed to rise to the occasion and managed to get level, that's a very good reaction.

"If we can do that it shows that we can move forward with the other matches and even win them. We can make up for this first defeat in the next two matches."

Colombia continues its Group H campaign on Sunday when it faces Poland in Kazan.

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