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James Rodríguez provided his sixth assist of the tournament as Colombia's 10-man team beat Uruguay 1-0 in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday to reach the Copa America final against Argentina, but chaos erupted later that night as players clashed with fans.

Argentina defeated Canada 2-0 in the first semifinal on Tuesday to secure its place in Sunday's final in Miami Gardens, Florida.

With Wednesday's win, Colombia extended its 28-game unbeaten streak – a team record. The streak began with a loss to Argentina in February 2022.

In a hard-fought match that included seven yellow cards and one red, players from both teams shoved and pushed in a scrum on the pitch after the final whistle. Darwin Núñez and about a dozen Uruguayan teammates then went into the stands as fans brawled. One video showed Núñez punching a fan wearing his Colombian team's colors.

Jefferson Lerma scored the only goal in front of a passionate and predominantly pro-Colombian crowd of 70,644 at Bank of America Stadium, heading in a James corner kick in the 39th minute.

James is the first South American player to record six assists at a single major tournament since Pelé for Brazil at the 1970 World Cup.

James Rodríguez was once again an inspiration in Colombia’s semi-final victory over Uruguay.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images


Colombia's task of protecting their lead became even more difficult when defender Daniel Muñoz was sent off in first-half stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card for an elbow on Uruguay's Manuel Ugarte. Muñoz received his first yellow card in the 31st minute from Mexican referee César Ramos for a reckless tackle on Maximiliano Araújo.

Liverpool striker Darwin Núñez failed to convert several of his chances in the first half, and Colombia goalkeeper Camilo Vargas only had to parry a shot from Nicolás de la Cruz in the 68th minute.

Substitute Luis Suárez, Uruguay's record goalscorer with 68 goals, hit the outside of the post with a shot in the 71st minute and Uruguay struggled to break through the ten-man team.

Colombian Mateus Uribe, another second-half substitute, missed a free shot in the 88th minute, and Uribe's free shot in the fourth minute of stoppage time rebounded off the body of sliding goalkeeper Sergio Rochet and hit the crossbar.

But one goal was enough for Colombia to reach the final of the Copa America for the third time and for the first time since winning the title as hosts in 2001.

After the game, videos showed Uruguayan players storming the stands and exchanging blows with Colombian fans as police attempted to separate the two teams.

Uruguay captain Jose Maria Gimenez said the players were trying to defend their families.

“Let me say something before they interrupt you because they won't let us speak into the microphone. They don't want me to say anything about what's going on here, but this is a disaster,” Gimenez said in the official broadcast. “Please be careful, our families are in the stands, there are little newborns. It was a disaster; there was no police and we had to defend our families.”

Argentina is aiming for a record 16th Copa America title and wants to equal Spain as the only country to win three major titles in a row.

Wednesday's game was played in 32-degree heat on a surface that was converted from artificial turf to grass in the weeks leading up to the competition.

Uruguay will face Canada in the third-place match on Saturday.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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