Victor of the Golden boot from four years ago, James Rodriguez starts on the bench due to a minor calf injury as Group H of the FIFA World Cup 2018 springs into action as Colombia face Japan in Saransk on Tuesday.
The midfielder was sent off after two minutes and 56 seconds in Saransk, having been deemed to have deliberately handled Shinji Kagawa's 20-yard drive with his arm.
A lengthy protest followed before Kagawa finally converted from the spot in the sixth minute.
Falcao won a free-kick at the edge of the box in the 39th minute and Qunitero cheekily slotted his shot under the wall which beat Eiji Kawashima in goal.
In the second half, with 73 minutes on the clock, Yuya Osako gave Japan the lead with his match-winning header from the corner.
As the hour approached, Colombia brought on James Rodriguez, who had been left on the bench because of calf problem, taking off Quintero.
In catching Colombia cold at the Mordovia Arena, Japan earned their first ever win over Los Cafeteros, avenging their 4-1 defeat to the same opponents at Brazil 2014, and picked up three precious points in their bid to advance from Group H.
Ten-man Colombia and Japan were level at 1-1 at halftime in their World Cup Group H match on Tuesday.
Colombia responded well to their adversity, moving the ball nicely, but Japan missed two great changes to effectively finish the game.
Osako's 73rd-minute victor means the Japanese avenged their 4-1 mauling in the group stages of Brazil 2014.
Shinji Kagawa scored from the penalty spot and although Juan Quintero equalised late in the first half, Japan made their superior numbers count, with Osako heading in from a corner to seal the win.
Red card costs Colombia as Japan tip over the 2014 Fifa World Cup quarterfinalists. Osako forced Ospina into another save low to his left after rolling Davinson Sanchez before Hiroki Sakai was denied by another sprawling save from the Colombian keeper. The worst outcome ensued: a handball, a red card and a penalty-kick goal.
Colombia was one of the stories of the last World Cup, with James Rodriguez rising to prominence with his performance in Brazil.
Sanchez's sending off is also the second-fastest in World Cup history, after Uruguay's Jose Batista, who was sent off within a minute of his side's clash with Scotland in 1986.
Japan's win is the first by an Asian team over a nation from South America in the history of the World Cup, yet Nishino was not getting carried away with the performance ahead of their next match against Senegal on Sunday.