Saturday , July 13 2024

Ex-Premier League star sent off for KICKING opponent in face 20 minutes into Copa America opener – before his country goes on to lose first game

  • A former Premier League forward was punished for an extremely high tackle
  • His country actually scored following his dismissal but couldn’t hold on 

A former Premier League striker was sent off on Saturday night in the Copa America following a horror challenge on his opponent.

Ecuador faced Venezuela at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, and went into halftime with a 1-0 lead following a goal from Brighton winger Jeremy Sarmiento.

But Sarmiento’s goal came after ex-West Ham and Everton striker Enner Valencia kicked an opponent in the face and was handed a red card in the 22nd minute.

The 34-year-old lunged for a midair ball in the box but was extremely late with his high challenge on Jose Martinez, leaving the Philadelphia Union midfielder in a heap.

Valencia was soon given his marching orders after VAR review. 

Enner Valencia caught Jose Martinez with an extremely high foot in the face on Saturday

Enner Valencia caught Jose Martinez with an extremely high foot in the face on Saturday

Martinez was left in a heap as the play was reviewed and Valencia was eventually sent off

Martinez was left in a heap as the play was reviewed and Valencia was eventually sent off

And his team would eventually suffer as they played a man down.

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Venezuela’s Jhonder Cadiz leveled things up with a side foot from outside the box in the 64th minute before Eduard Bello snatched the lead with a rebound 10 minutes later.

Valencia played for the Hammers from 2014-17, notching eight goals in 54 league appearances.

He was later loaned to Everton for the second half of the 2016-17 campaign before moving on to Mexican side UANL.

Valencia will now miss at least the next game for Ecuador, when they face Jamaica next week

Valencia will now miss at least the next game for Ecuador, when they face Jamaica next week

The former West Ham striker played for the club from 2014-17, scoring eight league goals

The former West Ham striker played for the club from 2014-17, scoring eight league goals

Valencia currently plays for Internacional in the Brazilian league.

This appears to be only his second career red card, with his other coming with Turkish giants Fernebache.

Unfortunately, the striker will now be suspended for at least the next game, which will come vs. Jamaica on Wednesday. 

If Valencia is handed a longer ban for his challenge, he’d also miss Ecuador’s match vs. Mexico next Sunday. 

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