Crowd trouble at Maracana mars famous Argentina victory against Brazil

By Sports Desk November 22, 2023 1493

World champions Argentina’s 1-0 win over Brazil was marred by crowd trouble at the Maracana Stadium.

Kick-off was delayed by half an hour in Rio de Janeiro after rival fans and police clashed, with both sets of players trying to calm the situation down before eventually returning to the dressing room before the game could commence.

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was filmed trying to climb the hoarding to stop a police officer wielding a baton before being pulled away by team-mates.

Once the order was restored, Nicolas Otamendi’s second-half header gave Argentina an historic World Cup qualifying victory, with Joelinton sent off for the hosts.

Lionel Messi said on Argentina’s X feed: “This group continues to achieve historic things. Although today was not the most important, it is something very nice.

“We needed this victory after the defeat against Uruguay.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game, similar to the one in the Copa America final. They pressed a lot, they went to look for us high up and it was difficult for us to have long possessions. These games are defined by details.”

It was Brazil’s first-ever home defeat in a World Cup qualifier and their third in a row after previous losses to Uruguay and Colombia, with their path to the 2026 World Cup looking decidedly shaky.

The hosts were the better side in the first half and could have taken the lead just before the break but Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli saw his shot cleared off the line by north London nemesis Cristian Romero.

Martinelli missed another key chance after the break, with Martinez denying him from close range.

The defending champions took a 63rd-minute lead when former Manchester City defender Otamendi headed home Giovani Lo Celso’s corner with their only effort on target of the night.

Newcastle’s Joelinton saw red in the last 10 minutes when he struck out at Rodrigo De Paul to compound a miserable night for the hosts, with the inquest to their poor form and the ugly scenes in the stadium set to rumble on.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 22 November 2023 06:20
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