FC Bacelona star Neymar has been provisionally suspended for one match and could face a harsher final punishment, officials said Thursday after the striker received a red card during a fracas in Brazil’s Copa America loss to Colombia.
South American federation CONMEBOL’s disciplinary committee “provisionally suspended Neymar for one game after his behavior in the aftermath of Brazil’s 1-0 defeat to Colombia, and will meet on Friday to decide the final punishment,” said a statement on the Copa America website.
Colombia upset the five-time world champions in a combative game Wednesday that ended in a tumultuous melee, as the FC Barcelona star Neymar appeared to aim a headbutt at Colombian goalscorer Jeison Murillo.
Colombia’s Seville striker Carlos Bacca also received a red card for pushing Neymar from behind.
Neymar had previously received a second yellow card for a handball, meaning at least a one-game suspension was inevitable.
The FC Barcelona star had received a first yellow card during Brazil’s opening win against Peru.
The Copa America website initially reported a two-game suspension, but later clarified that the 23-year-old striker was suspended for one game in a preliminary decision, to be reviewed when the disciplinary committee meets Friday.
A two-match suspension would rule him out of Brazil’s final group game against Venezuela Sunday and any quarter-final clash.
There was already bad blood between Neymar and the Colombian team heading into the match.
He suffered a fractured vertebra when Colombia’s Juan Camilo Zuniga collided with him in their World Cup quarter-final clash last July, an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the tournament.
Wednesday’s match left Group C of the South American championship up for grabs, with three teams tied at three points each: Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.