A GOALIE was red-carded seconds BEFORE a cup final started after VAR caught him making cut-throat gestures towards rival fans.
Jean Fernandes was given his marching orders by the ref in Paraguay after 'trolling' supporters behind the goal he was about to defend by crossing his forearms in front of his throat.
The Cerro Porteno shot-stopper had only just reached the goalmouth to prepare himself for the start of the game against Olimpia in Paraguay’s Super Cup final when he was filmed turning to the crowd and making the quick hand movement.
And worse was to come for his side after they lost 3-1 to their arch-rivals.
Footage of the extraordinary sequence of events showed Fernandes bending down to leave his rosary inside his left goalpost before standing up and making a gesture the match officials deemed 'provocative' and worthy of expulsion.
He was ordered to the centre-circle as VAR officials watched a replay of his actions before ref Eber Aquino ordered him off the pitch before he had a single save to make.
Fernandes, who is on loan at Cerro Porteno from Sao Paulo FC, protested the decision on social media by claiming his expulsion was the result of a 'misunderstanding' and he had performed a Brazilian funk music gesture called a ‘vape’ which in his homeland is used by footballers as a celebration.
He said: “When I went to put my rosary by the side of the goalpost, something which I always do, the rival fans began to throw several things at me including firecrackers.
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“I reacted by making a gesture which in Brazil is normal. A player called Gerson celebrates like that. It’s called the ‘vapo’ gesture.
“I don’t know what the ref thought but he ended up red-carding me. It was a misunderstanding.”
Cerro Porteno, the winners of the 2021 Clausura tournament, were allowed to replace Fernandes in goal and told they could still make their three substitutions during the game but were left with one less man on the bench.
Local reports say Cerro Porteno is now considering abandoning plans to buy Fernandes, 26, after his surreal sending off.
After Sunday’s match former Blackburn Rovers and Man City striker Roque Santa Cruz, now 40, announced he had played his last game for Olimpia and would now leave the club.
He said: “I said this was going to be my last dance, but at the club. I’m going to carry on playing but not now at Olimpia.
"I gave everything and I’m leaving content with what I’ve done.”
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