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Ref snubs handshake from fuming ex-Chelsea star Pulisic

Ref snubs handshake from fuming ex-Chelsea star Pulisic
Published 2 weeks ago on Jul 02, 2024

Pulisic Fumed, Fan Fury Erupts as Handshake Snub Caps Off Frustrating Copa America Exit for USA.

The USA's Copa America campaign came to a disappointing end with a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay, leaving a trail of frustration and accusations of officiating bias. The result, coupled with a tense post-match exchange, ignited fan outrage online.

Early Promise, Disappointing Finish

Christian Pulisic, the former Chelsea star now playing for AC Milan, led a US side that initially showed promise. They secured a convincing 2-0 victory against Bolivia in their opening match. However, their momentum was shattered by a shocking 2-1 loss to Panama, a team considered underdogs, in a game marred by red cards.

Uruguay Clinches Top Spot, USA Left Fuming

Marcelo Bielsa's Uruguay proved too strong, edging out the USA with a solitary goal. This result condemned Gregg Berhalter's team to a third-place finish in Group C, eliminating them from the knockout stages.

Controversial Calls Spark Fury

The defeat was compounded by a series of refereeing decisions that left the US players and fans fuming. A booking for Chris Richards while play supposedly continued, and a potentially offside Uruguayan goal in the 66th minute, attributed to Mathias Olivera, were the main points of contention.

Pulisic's Frustration Boils Over

Pulisic's frustration reached a boiling point before the final whistle. He confronted referee Kevin Ortega, a Peruvian official, with a heated exchange. When the game ended, the drama intensified.

Handshake Snub and Fan Conspiracy Theories

Pulisic approached Ortega, extending his hand for a post-match handshake. However, the referee refused, opting to stare back with a stern expression. This act of defiance sparked outrage among viewers.

Fans took to social media, venting their anger. Accusations of a "rigged" tournament flew, with some claiming CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation, manipulated results against the USA. These claims lacked concrete evidence.

Unclear Gestures Fuel Speculation

Some fans offered alternative interpretations. They suggested Pulisic may have sarcastically invited Ortega to join the Uruguayan celebrations in the moments leading up to the handshake snub. There's no confirmation of this, but it could explain the referee's reaction.

Fans Side with Pulisic, Criticize Ortega

Despite the ambiguity, fans overwhelmingly sided with Pulisic. The referee's behavior was widely condemned as unprofessional and disrespectful. Social media comments ranged from accusations of "unsportsmanlike conduct" to calls for a "red card for the ref."

A Bittersweet End for the USA

The USA's Copa America journey ended on a sour note. Questions regarding officiating decisions and the post-match incident highlight the potential for heightened emotions within the sport. It remains to be seen if CONMEBOL will address the concerns raised by the American team and its supporters.

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