2XGY1W6 CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 10: Uruguay forward Darwin Nunez (19) engages with hostile fans in the stands after the CONMEBOL Copa America semifinal between Uruguay and Colombia on Wednesday July 10, 2024 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Darwin Nunez FIGHTS Colombia fans after Uruguay families ‘attacked’

A brawl broke out between Colombian and Uruguay supporters after their Copa America semi-final, with Darwin Nunez jumping into the crowd alongside other players in an attempt to protect their families.

The two teams met for a place in the final in North Carolina in the early hours of Thursday morning for those of us in the UK, with Luis Diaz‘s side emerging as the victors.

But the ugly scenes that transpired off the pitch is what dominates the headlines, with a brawl breaking out in the stands after the final whistle.

Uruguay defender Jose María Gimenez explained post-match: “Colombian fans in a certain section descended on all our families. Our families were in danger. We had to rush into the stands to remove our loved ones with tiny newborn babies.

“It’s a total disaster. There wasn’t a single police officer. They showed up half an hour later. A disaster. And we were there, standing up for ourselves, for our loved ones.”

ESPN‘s live report from the stadium added more: “A couple of players on the Uruguay bench, the substitutes, started running frantically to the barrier and tried to climb over and get in the stands.

“It’s then that we realised it was their family section, a lot of the players’ families and partners were there with very young children. They were jumping over in an effort to try and separate the Colombia fans from them.”

Nunez was among the first players to scale the stand, and fists were thrown at him and from him, with one clearly shown to make contact with his face.

Former LFC forward Luis Suarez said post-match: “They were trying to protect their families. From what I saw, there were a lot of relatives and children affected. You’re left powerless in that situation.”

El Observador, a Uruguayan newspaper, says Ronald Araujo, Matias Vina and Mathias Olivera were with Nunez as the first group scaled the stand, with the fight lasting at least 10 minutes.

Gimenez, Brian Rodriguez and Sebastian Caceres are also said to have “participated to defend their families,” most of whom ended up on the pitch, including Nunez’s son and partner.

It took more than 10 minutes for police to arrive at the scene and PA stated that “about 100 Uruguayan fans and members of the federation staff remained on the field for their own protection more than 20 minutes after the game.”

Uruguay FA Statement

AUF president Ignacio Alonso told reporters:

“The players reacted instinctively to what is natural, which is to defend and protect the children that were in that part of the stands, the women who were being assaulted, the wives, fathers, children and brothers who were there.

“It’s an instinctive response of a father. It was a natural reaction that took place with much logic considering what was occurring around them.”

Colombia progress

The match becomes the second most important thing after events like that, but it was Colombia who won to set up a meeting with Argentina in the final.

Jefferson Lerma scored the only goal of the game and, despite going down to 10 men as Daniel Munoz received his second yellow card before halftime, they held on for a 1-0 win.

Diaz played 86 minutes and Nunez the full 90 in a match that ended with 24 fouls, six yellow cards and one red card.

Colombia play Argentina in the final on Sunday evening (Monday morning UK / 01:00 BST).

Nunez’s Uruguay will play Canada in a third-place play-off Saturday evening (Sunday morning UK / 01:00 BST).