Friday, July 12, 2024

Uruguay players and Colombia fans fight in stands after Copa America semifinal

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Flaring tempers following Colombia’s Copa America semifinal win over Uruguay found its way in the stands, where several Uruguayan players were seen engaging with Colombian fans after the game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

Uruguay defender José María Giménez said some Colombian fans had become aggressive in the stands toward Uruguay team family members, some holding small children, after the match.

“This is a disaster, our family was in danger,” Giménez said. “We had to get into the stands to get our loved ones out, with small newborn babies. There was not a single police officer … and we were there standing up for our own.”

Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa said he didn’t see the drama unfold after the match.

“There was some argument in the midfield, and when I saw that happening, I went to the locker room. I thought they were thanking the fans for their support,” Bielsa said. “But then I learned there were some problems over there unfortunately.”

CONMEBOL, which governs soccer in South America, released a statement just after midnight.

“CONMEBOL strongly condemns any act of violence that affects football. Our work is based on the conviction that soccer connects and unites us through its positive values. There is no place for intolerance and violence on and off the field,” the organization said. “We invite everyone in the remaining days to pour all their passion into cheering on their national teams and having an unforgettable party.” 

Wild and violent postgame scene

Uruguay striker Darwin Núñez, with his hair in a ponytail and shirtless after giving his jersey away, was seen being held back by several people in the stands while a Colombian fan appeared to punch him in the face.

Another sequence showed Núñez appearing to hit at least one fan after breaking free.

Luis Suarez, Messi’s Inter Miami teammate and Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer, appeared to instigate an earlier postgame incident in his final international match. 

Suarez caused a series of scuffles between players and coaches when both teams approached midfield after the final whistle. 

The series of events created an ugly scene after Colombia advanced to the Copa America final on Wednesday night.

Colombia will face Lionel Messi’s Argentina during the Copa America final on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

Meanwhile, Uruguay is set to play against Canada in the third-place match at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday.

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