- Gonzalo Jara Used His Finger to Provoke Reaction From Opponent
- Uruguayan Striker Edinson Cavani Sent Off in Copa America Game
Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara could be thrown out of soccer’s Copa America after being caught on video poking his finger between Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani’s buttocks.
The incident took place about an hour into Chile’s 1-0 quarterfinal victory against Uruguay on Wednesday. Cavani was sent off for his second yellow card after brushing Jara’s face with his hand in response to the Chilean’s gesture. The match at Estadio Nacional in Santiago had been without a goal at the time.
Host Chile reached its first Copa America semifinal in 16 years, though the result was overshadowed by incidents throughout the match. Uruguay finished with nine players on the field and its coach was also sent off as staff from both teams clashed following Jorge Fucile’s 88th-minute red card.
South American soccer body Conmebol has already shown its willingness to act against disciplinary breaches in the 12-team tournament. Brazil’s star striker Neymar was thrown out of the tournament after receiving a four-game ban for a clash after his team’s 1-0 loss to Colombia in its second group phase.
“In the Cavani case there are images that are far more graphic than 1,000 words of mine,” Uruguayan captain Diego Godin said after the game. “There are images that show that he sticks his finger up him.”
Chilean coach Jorge Sampaoli claimed he hadn’t seen the incident, while his opposite number Oscar Washington Tabarez said it created a “bitter taste.”
Asked about Jara’s actions, Colombia’s Argentinian coach Jose Pekerman said such provocation had no place in the game. “I know there’s a lot of pressure, but the dispute has to be noble,” Pekerman said in a news conference before Friday’s game with Argentina. “There are certain rules that should be respected.”
Jara probably will face a hearing on Saturday, where his fate will be decided by Conmebol’s disciplinary committee. That group is under scrutiny after Brazil’s federation complained the sanction it meted out to Neymar was too harsh. The Barcelona striker aimed a head butt at an opponent before directing verbal abuse toward the referee.
“The technical commission and the player hopes that Conmebol adopt the same rigor they used in punishing Neymar in all their competitions,” Brazil’s soccer body said.
Chile is bidding to win its first Copa America championship in the tournament’s 99-year history. Its semifinal opponent on Monday will be Peru, which got three goals Thursday night from Paulo Guerrero in a 3-1 win against Bolivia.