South American football officials will investigate the actions of Chile defender Gonzalo Jara, who was caught on TV poking Edinson Cavani’s backside to provoke him into getting sent off in the quarter-finals of the Copa America.
Alberto Lozada, a member of CONMEBOL’s disciplinary panel, said Thursday that the local governing body “will open an investigation” that could lead to a suspension for the Chilean player.
Cavani, Uruguay’s top scorer in the South American tournament, was sent off after the 63rd-minute provocation by Jara, and Chile went on to win Wednesday’s match 1-0.
Queen’s Park Rangers defender Mauricio Isla scored the winner in the 81st minute to send the hosts to the semi-finals of the Copa America for the first time in 16 years.
Cavani slapped Jara in the face after the Chilean put his hand on his bottom, but the referee only punished the Paris Saint- Germain striker, giving him a second yellow card. The slap appeared to be light but Jara dropped to the ground with his hand to his face. Cavani’s first yellow was for dissent to the assistant ref in the 30th minute.
Uruguay captain Diego Godin said after the match that Cavani “reacted the way he did” only because of what Jara did.
Cavani went into the match with a personal ordeal hanging over him. His father was detained back in Uruguay after allegedly driving drunk and being involved in an accident that killed a motorcyclist.
Uruguay lost another player in the 88th minute, when defender Jorge Fucile also was sent off for a second yellow. Uruguay players complained to Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci, and the game was stopped for nearly five minutes. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was sent off for leaving the technical area.
“We played a good match considering the opponents we were playing against. We were able to limit [their chances],” Tabarez said. “After we went down to ten men, things became a bit more difficult.”
Uruguay were already without Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who was banned from the tournament for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup last year.
Chile dominated the game from the start and Isla broke the deadlock with a low shot.
“This is the most important goal I’ve scored in my life,” said Isla, who had a difficult season at QPR, who were relegated. “For being at home, with the national team, for everything.”
Chile will now play the winner of the winner of the quarter-final between Bolivia and Peru. In the other quarter-finals, Argentina play Colombia and Brazil face Paraguay.
Chile are attempting to win the Copa America for the first time and are considered among the favourites thanks to a “Golden Generation” of players that includes Valdivia, Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and Claudio Bravo. They reached the last 16 at the World Cup in Brazil, losing to the hosts on penalties.
“It was difficult, we knew what we were up against, we knew that Uruguay are used to playing in these situations, we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Chile goalkeeper and captain Bravo. “We had the patience to score, we had the patience to control the game.”
Isla’s winner came after Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera tried to clear a cross and the ball went straight to Valdivia. The playmaker passed to Isla, who fired into the right corner.
Chilean authorities, meanwhile, have said Vidal will face additional charges for insulting police officers after crashing his Ferrari while driving drunk last week. He initially had his driver’s licence suspended for four months, but was allowed to stay with the team.