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Luiz Suarez’ punch adds to Uruguay’s qualifying woes

Mar 27, 2013, 9:12 AM EDT


The darling of world football villains, Luis Suarez, is back on the bad-boy prowl after appearing to punch Chile defender Gonzalo Jara during Uruguay’s 2-0 home World Cup qualifier defeat.

The blow (see the video below) occurred in the 35th minute of Tuesday’s match when Suarez, attempting to gain positioning on Jara during a corner kick, gave the Nottingham Forest defender a slick right-hand jab to the jaw. Argentine referee Nestor Pitana failed to take action over the incident although the Liverpool striker was later booked for protesting a decision. The yellow card means the 26 year old will miss the next qualifying duel away at Venezuela on June 11th.

The incident, which the Guardian claims will result in Suarez facing disciplinary action from Fifa, looks more like a mischievous love-tap than an actual punch. The ding was landed with Suarez facing the oppositve direction while struggling to free himself from Jara’s manhandling, a controversial defensive tactic that frequently goes unpunished and has become all too common in today’s game.

Unfortunately for Suarez and his teammates, the circumstances surrounding the tussle are unlikely to have any affect on the ban that Fifa will impose. If hit with a two match suspension – which would not be unforeseeable given the strict nature of the governing body and Suarez’ reputation – the striker would be banned through his country’s away clash with Peru on September 6th. While such a penalty would decimate the attacking prospectus of most teams, La Celeste are a nation blessed with world-class strikers and few will shed tears with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan leading the line.

A 2014 World Cup in Brazil without the 2011 Copa America winners would be a shame. But at 6th in the CONMEBOL Qualifying table and two points off a 5th placed play-off spot, it’s becoming a distinct possibility.

  1. scoocha - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I would love an opportunity to smash apart Suarez’ face. Only in soccer can twerps like this excel.

  2. manchestermiracle - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    So why can’t the linesman make that call? If the ref is watching action around the ball why can’t other officials pay attention to what’s going on away from the ball? Aren’t they the ones calling offsides, which is in front of the ball?

    Granted, that was a pretty sneaky punch, but maybe that kind of incident goes away if refs actually start calling all the mugging that passes for defense in the box. Jara looks like he wants to slow dance with Suarez, arms wrapped around the midsection and head resting on the shoulder. Even after getting punched he doesn’t let go.

    • Michael Prindiville - Mar 27, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      Completely agree. The manhandling that referees and their assistants permit has gotten way out of hand. There’s obviously no place for punches (Suarez) or headbutts (Fellaini) in the game but if someone puts you in a straight-jacket, you’re going to fight to get out.

      Rules need to change and refs need to improve.

  3. buckyball77 - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    “Love tap” does seem to be the operative word. Jara barely seems to note the mighty blow. In the modern game, any noticeable touch would normally call for a theatrical grimace of pain and obligatory death thrash on the grass.

    Maybe Chile’s Jara is that nearly extinct breed, a hard man who can take it as well as dish it out.

    • Michael Prindiville - Mar 27, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Jara definitely deserves respect for taking that hit. Lord knows if the tables were turned and Jara laid the punch on Suarez, the dude would’ve been sprawled out on the turf balling his eyes out.

  4. docstraw - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Suarez is a jackass but the now commonplace rugby-style defending on set pieces has to end … it’s an abomination.

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