Monday July 15th, 2024 2:29PM

Núñez, Uruguay teammates enter stands as fans fight after Copa America loss to Colombia

By Steve Reed AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Darwin Núñez and about a dozen Uruguay teammates went into the stands as fans brawled at Bank of America Stadium following a 1-0 loss to Colombia in a Copa America semifinal on Wednesday night.

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

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

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

Uruguay captain José Giménez said players went in the crowd to protect their families.

“This is a disaster. Our family is in danger. We had to get into the stands to take out our loved ones with small babies, newborns," he told TUDN. “Everything was a disaster. There was not a single police officer.”

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

About 100 Uruguayan fans and 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.

“There was some argument in the midfield, and when I saw that happening, I went to the locker room. I thought they were thanking the fans for their support,” Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa said. “But then I learned there were some problems over there unfortunately.”

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