Edwin Cardona accused of racism, makes squinting-eye gesture to South Korean players

The Colombian midfielder has since apologised for his actions but is looking at a Fifa ban if found guilty of racism

Edwin Cardona
Soccer Football - River Plate v Boca Juniors - Argentine First Division - Antonio V. Liberti stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina - November 5, 2017 - Boca Juniors' Edwin Cardona celebrates after he scored a goal. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci Reuters

Colombia's Edwin Cardona has apologised after sparking a racism controversy but may be staring square in the face of a Fifa ban during his team's 2-0 loss to South Korea in Friday's friendly.

The Colombian midfielder made a gesture with his eyes toward South Korean players in the second half of Friday night's game at Suwon World Cup Stadium, south of Seoul.

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"I didn't mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry,'' Cardona said in a video posted on the Colombia team's Twitter account, as reported by ESPN.

Two goals from Tottenham's Son Heung-min gave the South Koreans a first win since March but Cardona's actions, visible on the television broadcast, received considerable attention.

"I want to say I am not an aggressive person," said Cardona, who plays for Boca Juniors in Argentina, as reported by the Washington Post. "I am sorry that something that happened during the game has been misinterpreted."

Cardona's actions were condemned by the Korean media and captain Ki Sung-Yeung.

"The Colombians were really physical, which can happen in football,'' said Ki, who plays for Swansea City in the Premier League.

"Racist behavior is unacceptable, however. Colombia is a team full of world-class players and it was disappointing to see this kind of thing."

This is not the first racist controversy on a South Korean pitch this year.

During the 2017 Under-20 World Cup in June, Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde reportedly made a similar gesture after scoring a goal, although he insisted it was a private celebration meant for his friends.

During the 2-1 win for the hosts - with Tottenham star Son Heung-min scoring twice - Cardona kicked-up a potential storm.

As players from both teams pushed and shoved following an incident early in the second-half, the Colombian appeared to make a "squinting-eyes" gesture, according to the Sun.

During the ruck, Cardona can be seen squaring-up to a South Korean player in the background, before grabbing the sides of his eyes with his fingers.

While Cardona could now face a world of trouble from football's governing body, Colombia boss Jose Pekerman refused to be drawn into speaking about the incident.