Image of the match
Colombia beat Uruguay 1-0 in the semifinal AFP

About a dozen Uruguayan soccer players clashed with Colombian fans after their 1-0 loss in the Copa America semifinal. They said they climbed onto the stands of the Bank of America stadium to protect their families after they were targeted following a contentious end of the match.

Different videos showed striker Darwin Nuñez leading the pack of players and striking a fan wearing a Colombian jersey. He also appeared to receive a blow from another Colombian fan. Ronald Araújo and José María Giménez were among the most well-known players seen on the stands.

"We had to go there to get our families. They had small babies and newborns. It was a massive disaster, there was no police, they only got there an hour later. We had to stand our ground for our own," said Uruguayan captain Giménez after the brawl.

"I hope that the organizers can be more careful with the families, the people, the areas around the stadiums, because this is a mess, all matches are the same. Our families are suffering because of those who drink more than they should, they behave like children because they are not in control. I hope this doesn't happen again," he added. His statement was echoed by the president of the country's soccer federation, Ignacio Alonso, who said they were "just there to protect their families."

Uruguayan coach Marcelo Bielsa also weighed in, calling the scenes "truly regrettable." He said he was not on the field when the incident took place, as he had left after checking that a scuffle between the players on the field was over. Bielsa added that he thought players going to the stands were seeking to thank their countrymen for their support. "Then I found out there were other difficulties. Truly regrettable."

Conmebol, South American soccer's governing body, issued a statement "strongly rejecting" all "acts of violence in soccer," not making a direct reference to the brawl. "There is no room for intolerance and violence in an outside the pitch. We invite all to use their passion to cheer for their teams and live an unforgettable party in the coming days," the statement added.

The tournament is not over for the Uruguayan team, as they have to play for third place against Canada on Saturday. Colombia, on its end, has made it to the competition final for the first time in over 20 years and will face Argentina on Sunday.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.