Football: Tabarez fury over Cavani 'provocation'

Uruguay's soccer head coach Oscar Tabarez speaks during a news conference in Chile, June 23.  He leapt to the defence of dismissed striker Edinson Cavani on June 24, saying Cavani has been provoked.
Uruguay's soccer head coach Oscar Tabarez speaks during a news conference in Chile, June 23. He leapt to the defence of dismissed striker Edinson Cavani on June 24, saying Cavani has been provoked.PHOTO: REUTERS

SANTIAGO (AFP) - Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez leapt to the defence of dismissed striker Edinson Cavani on Wednesday, as footage appeared to show a Chilean player attempting to provoke the star by inserting a finger into his anus.

Cavani was sent off midway through the second half after receiving a second yellow card for flicking a hand into the face of Chile defender Gonzalo Jara.

But Tabarez said Cavani had been the victim of provocation by Jara, which should have been spotted by the match officials.

Post-match camera footage of the altercation appears to show Jara shoving a finger into the back of Cavani's shorts.

"For the expulsion of Cavani, you can see what happened and what the challenge was. I refer you to the television and photos of it, it is all there," said Tabarez.

"I can see that the referee has not seen it, but the linesman had to be able to see it from his position."

It is not the first time Jara has been involved in controversy involving a Uruguayan opponent.

In 2013 Uruguay striker Luis Suarez punched Jara after the Chilean reportedly grabbed his genitals during a World Cup qualifier.

Tabarez said the dismissal of Cavani, when the match was finely poised at 0-0, had turned the tide against his team.

"We had the game under control but when we were left with 10 men it became a little more difficult because it limited our opportunities to attack," said Tabarez.

A miserable night for Uruguay got worse for the 2011 champions, when Jorge Fucile was sent off late in the game for a rugged challenge on Alexis Sanchez.

That sparked a prolonged confrontation between players and officials from both sides including Tabarez.