Brasilia, Brazil (4E Sports) – James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero scored in the second half as Colombia grabbed the lead in World Cup Group C with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast Thursday at Estadio Nacional.
With the win, Colombia clinched a three-point lead in Group C and will be assured of a spot in the second round if Greece fails to beat Japan later Thursday. The Colombians will take on Japan in its Group C finale.
To keep its chances of advancing to the next round alive, Ivory Coast needs a crucial win over Greece Tuesday.
The Elephants created a number of late openings but Colombia captain Mario Yepes, playing in his 100th international, was supreme throughout, repelling everything thrown at him.
The unchanged Colombians had the better of the early chances with Teofilo Gutierrez sending a half-volley wide of the right-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.
The Ivorians, meanwhile, were struggling to get the likes of Wilfried Bony, Gervinho and Max Gradel into the game, though Cheick Tiote drilled over the crossbar 25 minutes in as they got a rare sight of goal.
The best chance of the opening period came for the South Americans three minutes later when Gutierrez found himself in the center of the Ivorian box but his attempt went wide.
After a first-half that was low on goalmouth action, the match burst into life in the final 30 minutes.
Rodriguez got the ball rolling with a powerful header from a Juan Cuadrado corner in the 64th minute, before Juan Quintero doubled the advantage six minutes later.
Gervinho pulled one back for Ivory Coast 17 minutes from time, but it proved to be mere consolation for the African outfit.