Uruguay's Darwin Nunez, other players fight fans after heated Copa America semifinal loss in Charlotte

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Following a heated 1-0 loss to Colombia in the Copa America semifinals in Charlotte, Uruguay players, including Darwin Nunez, entered the stands and fought Colombia supporters. The altercation involving the Uruguayan team came after drinks were thrown at the players as they approached the stands where fans of both teams were already getting physical. 

Nunez could be seen fighting fans after a drink was thrown their way, while others like the injured Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo and Midtjylland midfielder Emiliano Martinez were also involved.

Take a look:

When asked about the incident following the match here’s what Uruguay manager Marcelo Bielsa had to say:

“I didn’t see that. I thought that the incident ended with some arguments in midfield and when I saw that happen then I went to the locker room,” Bielsa said. “I thought they were thanking the fans for their support, but then I learned that there were some problems over there, unfortunately.”

CONMEBOL has also released the following statement:

“CONMEBOL strongly condemns any acts 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 pitch. We invite everyone in the remaining days to pour all their passion into cheering on their national teams and having an unforgettable party.”

Suspensions are surely on their way after such an ugly moment during the post-game. Both Uruguay and Colombia players had to be separated at midfield following the final whistle before this took place. Speaking following the match, Uruguayan defender Jose Giminez blamed the incident on a lack of security, saying that he went over there to protect his family, accusing fans of drinking too much and starting trouble. 

“This is a disaster, our families are in danger. Not one single policeman,” Gimenez said.

In soccer matches around the world, it is common for stewards to surround sections of fans in order to keep players safe, but that wasn’t seen in Charlotte during the fight breaking out. Gimenez called for changes to be made which is also important as the United States will also be hosting the 2026 World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico, and FIFA won’t want an incident even close to this taking place. There will be more time to prepare for that tournament instead of Copa America which was initially supposed to be held in Ecuador, but there are lessons to take from this event. 

While it wasn’t as big in scale, there are similarities to the Malice at the Palace in 2004, which took place at the end of the Indiana Pacers facing the Detroit Pistons in NBA action. Pistons center Ben Wallace and the Pacers’ Ron Artest got in a scuffle on the court but when a drink was thrown at Artest, he charged into the crowd grabbing a fan and started a brawl. Nine players were suspended due to that brawl leaving wonder as to what disciplinary actions will be taken here. Artest got the heaviest suspension, the remainder of the season, which was 73 regular season games and 13 playoff games. Where this gets tricky is that a suspension may be handed down by CONMEBOL for Nunez and Uruguay’s players, but it could potentially not impact him at Liverpool, though punishments remain to be seen.

It was already a chippy match in front of a sellout crowd as Colombian right back Daniel Munoz was sent off with a red card in the first half but Los Cafeteros held on for the victory due to Uruguay missing their attacking chances. Nunez was among those taking four shots and putting none on target. As the match already included 23 fouls and eight yellow cards, tensions were high all night but they boiled over in a big way.

As for the game, James Rodriguez’s sixth assist of Copa America on Jefferson Lerma’s goal proved to be critical as Colombia have now gone unbeaten for a team record 28th consecutive game.

Colombia will now advance to face Argentina in the Copa America final on July 14th in Miami Gardens while Uruguay will meet Canada in the third-place match on July 13, also in Charlotte. 

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