Conmebol suffers a qualifying day marred by violence

RIO DE JANEIRO.- In a South American classic marred by a brawl in the stands, Nicolas Otamendi rose to score a header goal that gave Argentina on Tuesday a 1-0 victory against Brazil for the qualifying rounds Conmebol heading to the 2026 World Cup.

It was the Verdeamarela’s first defeat in 65 home games in the history of the South American qualifiers.

Many of the 69,000 fans who came to the stadium Maracana They did it to witness what could have been the last game of Lionel Messi in Brazilbut they ended up seeing how Otamandi headed a corner kick from Giovani Lo Celso at 63 minutes for the only goal of the match.

The start of the game was delayed almost half an hour due to fights between fans in the stands of the stadium. Maracana and that caused the police to intervene.

Affected by adductor discomfort, Messi left the field at 78 minutesamid a mix of boos and cheers from the Brazilian fans.

The Argentine star, 36 years old, was left with the desire to score his first goal against Brazil for the playoffs.

But the albiceleste returns home as the leader of the South American race towards the world and with another victory in the iconic stadium of Rio de Janeiro. Two years ago, Angel di Maria scored the only one in a Maracana without an audience to proclaim themselves champions of the America Cup.

This group continues to achieve historic things”Messi said. “It is very nice to win in Brazil, because of how strong they are at home throughout history.”

Delay due to incidents:

The violence in the stands caused the Argentine team, with its captain Messi at the helmleft the field and waited 22 minutes in the locker room until he received assurances that the situation had calmed down. At least one spectator had to be carried out of the stadium after bleeding from a facial wound. Rio police reported that they arrested eight people over the brawl.

“It was the way to calm everything down,” Messi said about the decision to go to the locker room. “There were players who had families there. You think about your family, you don’t really know what’s happening and you’re more focused on that than on playing a game. At that point, it is secondary.”

The violence in the stands was later reflected on the field during the first 20 minutes of the duel, with a very complicated process. The Chilean referee Piero Maza showed three yellow cards to Brazil in the first half hour. But the tension was dissipating.

Also outside the Maracaná:

On the other hand, in the Monumental of Lima, Venezuela maintained its good momentum by equalizing one goal apiece with Peru. However, The duel was also stained by violenceafter Venezuelan players reported that they were thanked by local police while they tried to interact with their fans present in the stands.

Also, this Wednesday, the Venezuelan Football Federation He also denounced that the Peruvian authorities had not allowed the national team plane to take off.

FOUNTAIN: With information from AP