Colombia through to Copa America final, Darwin Nunez involved in fight

Steve Reed
The Nightly
 Darwin Nuñez  of Uruguay climbs into the stands during the  Copa America 2024 semifinal match between Uruguay and Colombia at Bank of America Stadium on July 10, 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Darwin Nuñez of Uruguay climbs into the stands during the Copa America 2024 semifinal match between Uruguay and Colombia at Bank of America Stadium on July 10, 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) Credit: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Farcical scenes have marred the end of this morning’s Copa America semifinal after Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez and about 12 of his Uruguay teammates went into the stands as fans brawled

Colombia played the entire second half with only 10 men before beating Uruguay 1-0 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium to reach the final where they will meet Argentina.

After a physical and contentious match, a melee broke out behind the Uruguay bench after Mexican referee Ceasar Ramos’ final whistle.

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The crowd of 70,644 was about 90 per cent in favour of Colombia, but a small patch of Uruguay fans fought with Colombia supporters as beverages were thrown.

Nunez and teammates then climbed a staircase into the crowd. A video showed Nunez hitting a fan in Colombian team colours.

It took more than 10 minutes for police to restore order. The public address announcer asked for fans to leave the stadium, but several supporters remained.

About 100 Uruguayan fans and members of the federation staff remained on the field more than 20 minutes after the game, while Colombia fans made their way out to celebrate.

Jefferson Lerma’s first-half header was enough to send them through for an enounter against reigning World Cup champions Argentina and Lionel Messi.

Earlier, Colombia’s Daniel Munoz was sent off at the end of the first half and while Uruguay dominated possession they could not make the man-advantage count with Nunez missing three good opportunities early on.

The forward had a great chance in the box in the 17th minute but curled his effort inches wide before a scuffed shot and another curling strike failed to find the target as he sat on his haunches wondering how he had missed.

Uruguay were made to pay for those missed chances when Lerma rose above the defence from a corner and squeezed his header past goalkeeper Sergio Rochet as James Rodriguez claimed his sixth assist of the tournament.

Colombia were then reduced to 10 men when right back Munoz received a second yellow card for elbowing Manuel Ugarte in the chest when play was stopped.

With Uruguay dominating possession in the second half, Bielsa threw on Luis Suarez in the 67th minute and the veteran striker nearly scored moments later, the 37-year-old’s shot hitting the post as he sank to his knees in frustration.

Colombia had a golden opportunity to seal the win in the 88th minute when they won the ball back in Uruguay’s box but Mateus Uribe sent his low shot wide.

He saw another one deflect off the keeper and cannon off the crossbar in added time.

Colombia, who extended their unbeaten run to 28 games, held on for a famous win to book their place in Sunday’s final.

Uruguay now play Canada a day earlier in the third-place playoff.

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