Football

Luis Suarez’s referee remonstrations steal the show against Chile

Uruguay star appears to urge official to penalise Chile goalkeeper Arias for handball and defender Jara for tripping pitch invader

Uruguay may have topped Group C with a 1-0 win over Chile at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro yesterday morning (Singapore time), but much of the talk after the match was about Luis Suarez's antics.

With his side searching for a goal against the Copa America holders, the 32-year-old raced into the box and rounded Chile's Gabriel Arias, but the goalkeeper recovered to punch the striker's shot away for a corner.

Suarez, however, seemed to momentarily forget that Arias' job is to stop shots with his hands and appealed for a penalty, gesticulating to the referee by pointing to his own hand.

The striker soon realised his mistake and stopped protesting, putting his hands on his head to console himself for the missed opportunity.

It was five years to the day when Suarez infamously bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in a group-stage decider at the 2014 World Cup, which saw him banned for four months.

Later in the game, the striker made another frantic appeal to the referee to ask for Chile's Gonzalo Jara to be sent off, after the defender tripped up a pitch invader.

The Internet had a field day with Suarez's antics, as did the British press.

But it was Uruguay who had the last laugh, as Suarez's strike partner Edinson Cavani grabbed the only goal of the game eight minutes from time via a stooping header to seal top spot in Group C and set up a quarter-final clash with Peru.

Said Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani: "In some moments we played well, in other moments less well, but always with the (right) attitude and mentality we were able to snatch the game...

"We wanted to win the group without knowing what would come next, to show a good image in the group and continue with this attitude."

Uruguay captain Diego Godin said this win "is important for confidence, to rediscover the feelings after Japan". His side were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw by the Samurai Blue.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez admitted there was little between the two sides.

"It was a keenly contested match with few spaces. We managed a little bit better than our opponents," he said.

More so than avoiding Group B winners Colombia, Tabarez was most pleased that Uruguay will get an extra day of rest ahead of their quarter-final on Sunday morning against a Peru side that have had two extra days to recover from their group-stage exertions.

"One extra day of rest is useful, it's important, because we're on the limit," said Tabarez.

Chile's Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda, who was jeered by many of his team's fans when his name was announced before the match, said his side were beaten by "Uruguay's strength" - their aerial game.

"Undoubtedly, it was a very close game. We knew about our opponents' quality, with a well-defined system, a difficult style in terms of their aerial game," he said. - AFP, REUTERS

YESTERDAY’S OTHER RESULT

  • Ecuador 1 Japan 1
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