Ivory Coast’s hopes of going beyond the group stages of the World Cup suffered a trifling punch, as Colombia made it two wins out of two to move within a touching distance of the round of 16.
James Rodriguez headed in at near post corner to place the ‘Los Cafeteros’ ahead four minutes after the hour mark and Juan Quintero slotted home after Serey Die was caught in possession to double Colombia’s lead five minutes later.
Gervinho halved the deficit in the 73rd minute, when he evaded three Colombia defenders before finding the net.
Coach Sabri Lamouchi’s men searched for a late leveler but to no avail, as Colombia held on to an impressive win at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.
The Elephants now have to win their next game against Greece to keep every chances of reaching the second round in their third successive appearance alive.
Galatasaray marksman Didier Drogba was yet not deemed fit to start and had to come off the bench after one hour of the West African nation’s penultimate Group C game in Brazil.
Colombia named an unchanged starting 11 from the side that beat 2004 European champions Greece 3-0.
A tense but edgy first-half witnessed fewer chances, with Colombia getting closer to an opening goal at some point.
Ivory Coast were lucky not to have fallen behind a minute to the half-hour mark, when Teofilo Gutierrez got the ball on the edge of the goal area, but tangled to miss his shot. Replay showed the striker was offside, but referee Howard Webb and his assistants failed to spot that.
Serge Aurier responded few minutes later, gliding past Mario Yepes to release a low-shot, which was kept out by the Colombian goalkeeper.
Both teams went for a 15 minute break and on return, the Ivorians improved on their movement upfront.
Swansea’s Wilfried Bony tried to flick an outrageous bicycle kick from a Yaya Toure pinpoint cross on 57 minutes, but kicked the air in the process.
Juan Cuadrado came up with Colombia’s first real shot at goal on the hour mark, which goalkeeper Boubacar Barry squirmed on to the upright.
Monaco forward Rodriguez finally broke the deadlock, skillfully powering Cuadrado’s corner past Boubacar Barry.
Jose Peckerman’s men doubled their lead five minutes later, not without Ivory Coast giving away a poor corner at the other end. Colombia followed up with a counter-attacking break which culminated in a Gutierrez-Quitero connection and the latter buried the goal behind Boubacar Barry.
Gervinho then replied with a terrific strike of his own making. He skipped past three defenders before finding the net from inside the box.
Ivory Coast turned it up a gear after the ex-Gunners’s goal, but Colombia fended off every attempt to restore parity.