The victory kept Colombia in the running for a spot in the round of 16 and knocked out Poland, the first European country to be eliminated. In the match, Colombia's Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the third minute with the second-fastest red card in World Cup history to set the tone for the rest of the game.
Poland entered the World Cup ranked highest of the four teams in Group H at eighth but ended up being the first team out of contention for the knockouts with a lacklustre performance in their first two matches.
Colombia, who reached the quarter-finals for the first time in Brazil four years ago before bowing out to the hosts, are in a similar situation after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Japan - they were forced to play with 10 men for nearly the entire game.
James Rodriguez celebrated being back in the starting line up by setting up Yerry Mina to give Colombia the lead at the break. Poland had huge support inside the Spartak Stadium and are the seeded team in Group H - but they were disappointing in all areas during their opening defeat by Senegal. The Bayern Munich player's six goals in the 13 qualifying games he started - a hard feat in CONMEBOL qualifying, especially with four of them coming away from home - highlight how vital he is.
And with Lewandowski and his team-mates hurting, ruthless World Cup fans have unearthed an old tweet the Poland captain sent to Rodriguez previous year.
At club level, a move to Real Madrid after winning the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup seemed to herald the coming of a genuine superstar, perhaps even the leader of the group of players in the category behind the untouchables, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
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"I'm very sorry and very sad about the result, but tomorrow's another day and we have to come to terms with things", he said.
Colombia's win resurrects their World Cup campaign after defeat in their opener against Japan threatened an early exit.
Poland started strongly, asking questions of the Colombian defence in the first ten minutes.
The Poles manufactured a chance against the run of play a few minutes later. "I want, and we want, to share it with him", he said.