RIO DE JANEIRO — A South American World Cup qualifier match was delayed after fans clashed in Maracana Stadium on Tuesday. Argentine and Brazil fans gathered in a stadium in Brazil to cheer up their supporting teams but just before the match started the unexpected happened.
The opposing fans started fighting behind one of the goal posts as the National Anthem went on forcing the police officers to take charge when chaos started. Argentina Captain Lionel Messi called out the Brazilian officers for their brutal actions towards the Argentine fans.
A group of Argentine fans retaliated by throwing seats towards the police officers leaving other spectators in panic, forcing them to run into the pitch to escape the fight that left some wounded.
Messi’s team tried to calm the situation before it escalated further before leaving the pitch and returning to the changing rooms. “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,” said Messi in a 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,” he added.
The Brazilian Captain Marquinhos was seen interacting with Messi and his team as they tried to calm the fans down. “We were worried about the families, women and children, that we were seeing in panic up there in the stands, down on the pitch it was hard for us to understand what was going on, it was a very scary situation,” said Marquinhos.
After a lengthy delay, the Argentina players resumed play and the match continued as earlier planned. Argentina won 1-0 at the 63rd minute from defender Nicholas Otamendi.
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