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Copa America: Premier League stars embroiled in brawl in stands after Uruguay exit

Liverpool striker and Spurs midfielder reportedly defending players' families in Charlotte, NC, stadium

Darwin Nunez

Premier League stars Darwin Nunez and Rodrigo Bentancur were involved in an ugly altercation with fans after Uruguay lost their Copa America semi-final to Colombia on Wednesday night.

The Liverpool striker was pictured fighting with fans in the stands at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the final whistle ensured a 1-0 win for Colombia which sent them through to face Argentina in Monday’s final.

Uruguayan outlet El País reported trouble broke out close to where friends and family members of the Uruguay team were seated.

TV cameras and mobile phone footage from fans appeared to show Nunez climbing off the pitch and into the stand before confronting fans as others tried to hold him back while Tottenham midfielder Bentancur, who was forced off with injury during the game, was seen to throw at least one drinks bottle from the side of the pitch into the area where the trouble was unfolding.

The scenes followed confrontations on the pitch between players and staff from both sides after the game, which was settled by a solitary goal from Crystal Palace midfielder Jefferson Lerma six minutes before half-time.

Uruguay captain Jose María Gimenez claimed players were trying to defend their families and said the scene was a ‘disaster.’

He told press agency Reuters: “There were 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.”

Nunez was shown on TV comforting his young son on the pitch after the incident.

South American football’s governing body Conmebol has launched an investigation into the scenes and ‘strongly condemned’ the incident and said it would launch an investigation.

“There is no place for intolerance and violence on and off the field,” a statement said.

The US will co-host the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and Canada, with 11 US stadiums playing host to fixtures, although Charlotte is not one of them.

Colombia will face World Cup holders Argentina in Monday night’s showpiece in Miami – where Argentina skipper Lionel Messi plays his club football in the MLS.

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.

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