Violent clashes mar Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier in Rio

“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.”

Brazil captain Marquinhos, who interacted with Messi and the Argentine players as they tried to calm the situation, shared the concerns.

“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,” he said. “It was a very scary situation.”

Violent clashes mar Brazil v Argentina World Cup qualifier
Argentina players celebrate their 1-0 victory over Brazil at the final whistle Tuesday night.Bruna Prado / AP

The Argentina players eventually returned after police corralled the visiting fans in a pen, and the match started after a lengthy delay.

Argentina won 1-0 with a 63rd-minute headed winner from defender Nicolas Otamendi. The players celebrated the victory over their fiercest rivals in front of their fans at the same end of the ground where the trouble had occurred.

It was a third straight defeat for five-time World Cup winners Brazil, who had midfielder Joelinton sent off 18 minutes from time.


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