SANTIAGO - Chile sent nine-man Uruguay crashing out of the Copa America on Wednesday, winning a bruising quarter-final 1-0 as controversy over lurid provocation tactics rocked the tournament.
An 81st-minute strike from Juventus defender Mauricio Isla settled a pulsating encounter, which saw 10 yellow cards and two reds at Santiago's Estadio Nacional as holders Uruguay saw striker Edinson Cavani and defender Jorge Fucile sent off.
Fucile's dismissal for a second yellow card in the closing minutes triggered a mass confrontation involving players and officials from both sides, with even Uruguay's veteran coach Oscar Tabarez coming onto the pitch.
ALL ON RECORD
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.
- Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez
They like to fight, argue, go all out.
- Chile striker Alexis Sanchez
But the post-match commotion focused on the dismissal of Cavani, who flicked a hand into the face of Chile defender Gonzalo Jara after a clash midway through the second half.
Camera footage of the moments leading up to the flashpoint, however, appeared to show Jara attempting to insert his finger into Cavani's anus, prompting the Uruguay player's reaction.
Tabarez later defended the actions of Cavani, arguing that the Paris Saint-Germain star had been provoked.
"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, as images of Jara's actions swiftly went viral on social media.
It is not the first time Jara has been involved in controversy involving a Uruguayan opponent.
In 2013, Luis Suarez had punched the defender after the Chilean reportedly grabbed the striker's genitals during a World Cup qualifier.
Tabarez said Cavani's dismissal, when the match was at 0-0, 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 the coach.
It was a miserable end to the tournament for Cavani, who had been booked in the first half for aggressively confronting a linesman after a tackle involving Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal.
On Monday, Cavani's father was arrested in Uruguay after his involvement in a traffic accident which left a 19-year-old motorcyclist dead.
Uruguay reacted to Cavani's dismissal doggedly and had appeared to be on their way to taking the game to a penalty shoot-out with a superb defensive performance that was led by Atletico Madrid centre-half Diego Godin.
However, as the match entered the final 10 minutes, Chile pounced on Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera's failure to clear a cross.
Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia slipped a pass to Isla, who drilled in a low finish to spark wild celebrations.
It got worse for Uruguay a few minutes from time when Fucile clattered into Chile and Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.
Play was interrupted for several minutes as Uruguay's players and officials protested but the red card stood.
"When things end in red cards for incidents that weren't even fouls, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth," Tabarez said.
"I would have liked to lose in a different way."
Sanchez later revealed one unnamed Uruguayan player had said sorry to him for the rough treatment.
"They like to fight, argue, go all out; one player told me in the first half 'Move you wimp' - but then later he said to me: 'I am sorry'," Sanchez said.
"He said to me, 'That'll do, I kicked the s*** out of you'.
"And I said, 'All right but you could have caused an injury and that's not what football's about'," Sanchez added.
Chile will play either Bolivia and Peru in the first semi-final on Monday.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS