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NATAL, Brazil — Uruguay striker Luis Suarez could once again be in trouble after appearing to bite an Italian opponent today in a key World Cup qualifying game.
The incident, shown on television replays, showed Suarez apparently bite the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini as the pair clashed in the Italian penalty area. It happened about a minute before Uruguay scored in the 81st.
Uruguay won 1-0 and qualified for the knockout stages, while four-time champion Italy was eliminated.
It is the third biting incident involving the talented but controversial striker.
Suarez was banned for seven matches by the Netherlands football federation in 2010 after biting PSV Eindhoven player Otman Bakkal in a league match when he played for Ajax.
After moving to Liverpool, he bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and was banned for 10 games.
FIFA can sanction players with bans of up to two years if its disciplinary commission decides there is a case to answer.
After the incident today, Chiellini protested loudly but the referee did not appear to have spotted the incident.
The Italian player pulled his shirt off his shoulder to point out to the referee what appeared to be a mark, but no immediate action was taken against Suarez on the field.
In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Suarez was sent off in the quarterfinal against Ghana for handling the ball on the goal-line. He was sent off, but Uruguay won the game in a penalty shootout to reach the semifinals.