Colombian police are investigating online death threats made against Carlos Sanchez, the midfielder sent off after just three minutes of his country’s opening World Cup match against Japan on Tuesday.
Sanchez had been given a red card after saving Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa’s goal-bound shot in the opening moments of Colombia’s World Cup opener. Japan converted the subsequent penalty before Colombia pulled one back through Juan Quintero. The ten men of Colombia could not hold out, however, and a late header from Japan’s Yuya Osaka sealed a 2-1 win for their Group H rivals.
Sanchez’s sending off, the second fastest in World Cup history, was seen as a critical moment in the game. According to Pulzo, one Twitter user posted parallel pictures of Sanchez and Andres Escobar, the Colombian defender shot dead outside a nightclub in Medellin after scoring an own goal at the 1994 World Cup, along with the line: “I propose a dream.”
A minority of people echoed the poster’s sentiments, saying the midfielder, who plays for Serie A side Fiorentina, should suffer a similar fate to Escobar. Colombian broadcaster BlueRadio confirmed the investigation with the public prosecutor.
Escobar’s death shocked the world at the time. His own goal against hosts America was the final blow to his country’s stuttering campaign and he was killed just five days after returning home. A bodyguard for a powerful Colombian drug cartel later confessed to murdering Escobar and was sentenced to 43 years in prison. It is alleged that his employer lost heavily while betting on the game.
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