Uruguayan players clash with Colombian fans after Copa America semi

July 11 – The Copa America burst into chaos on Wednesday after Uruguay players clashed with Colombia fans before security personnel stepped in to restore order.

After Colombia sealed a 1-0 semi-final victory in North Carolina, videos on social media showed what appeared to be Uruguay players climbing into the stands and exchanging blows with opposition fans.

Colombia had played the entire second half with 10 men before reaching the final when they will meet holders Argentina having extended their unbeaten run to 28 games.

But after the final whistle on Wednesday, Liverpool striker Darwin Núñez and about a dozen of his Uruguay teammates went into the stands as fans brawled at the Bank of America Stadium. That followed a melee behind the Uruguay bench featuring both Núñez and Ronald Araujo. Captain Jose Maria Gimenez said the players were trying to defend their families.

“Let me say something before they cut you off because they won’t let us speak into the microphone, they don’t want me to say anything about what’s going on but this is a disaster,” Gimenez is reported to have said.

“Please be careful, our families are in the stands, there are little newborn babies. It was a disaster; there was no police and we had to defend our families. This is the fault of two or three people who had a few too many drinks and don’t know how to drink.”

The crowd of 70,644 was about 90% pro-Colombia and reports said it took more than 10 minutes for police to restore order after the clash between players and fans. The public address announcer asked for fans to leave the stadium, but several supporters remained.

Conmebol said it was investigating the incident and that it strongly condemned any acts of violence.

“Our work is based on the conviction that soccer connects and unites us through its positive values,” Conmebol said. “There is no place for intolerance and violence on and off the field.”

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