Brazil and Argentina played World Cup qualifying match for South America region on Tuesday. The all-important match was played on Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro. The encounter between these South American heavy weights is considered one of the biggest football matches played on the planet, as Brazil and Argentina have a great rivalry.
Before the match started Brazilian and Argentina fans indulged in a fight behind one of the goals. The Brazilian police in the stadium entered the stands and started beating the visiting fans brutally with sticks. This caused huge amount of panic in the whole stadium.
Fans even came on to the pitch to escape the conflict in the ground. Argentinian fans in the stands threw seats and other objects on Brazilian police to resist the brutal violence. Lots of spectators even got injured in the conflict. One Argentinian fan was laying on the ground with a blooded face, later he was taken from the stadium on a stretcher.
The Argentinian team went to the stands in effort to calm down the situation in the stadium. The Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez even tried to pull a police who was beating up a fan. The Argentinian players were than taken to the tunnel leaving the ground by their captain Lionel Messi.
Messi said he took the team out of the pitch that the situation in the stadium gets calm down. Argentinian team was reluctant to walk over and not playing the match as a protest.
“It was bad because we saw how they were beating people … The police, as it already happened in the Libertadores final, were once again repressing the people with night sticks, there were players who had families over there,” Messi said in a pitch side television interview.
“We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, it could have ended in tragedy.
“You think about the families, the people who are there, who don’t know what’s going on and we were more concerned about that than playing a match that, at that point, was of secondary importance.”
“We were worried about the families, women and children, that we were seeing in panic up there in the stands,” Marquinhos told reporters.
“Down on the pitch it was hard for us to understand what was going on, it was a very scary situation.” The Brazilian captain added.
Eventually the match started after a delay of half an hour. The match itself was very aggressive and rough as 22 fouls were committed only in the first half. Brazilian player Joelinton was sent off as well.
Argentina won 1-0 with a 63rd-minute headed goal from defender Nicolas Otamendi and celebrated the victory over their fiercest rivals in front of their fans at the same end of the ground where the trouble happened.
This was the third defeat in a row for the five-time world champions. This was the first defeat for the Brazilian team on home ground in a World Cup qualifying match in their entire footballing history.