Lionel Messi Highlights Safety Concerns Amidst Chaos Over Argentina’s Victory in World Cup Qualifier
Dramatic scenes unfolded in the World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Brazil at the legendary Maracana Stadium as chaos erupted in a section of the stadium where players’ friends and family were seated. The unrest led Argentina captain Lionel Messi to voice serious apprehensions about the likelihood of a calamity during the disturbances.
Before kick-off, confrontations broke out between opposing fans, prompting police to charge at Argentina’s supporters with batons, creating a perilous situation that Messi believes “had the potential to result in a tragedy.”
The 36-year-old Messi articulated, “The sight of people being beaten was distressing. Once again, the police resorted to using force, reminiscent of the scenes at the Libertadores final. Retreating to the locker room was the best course of action to restore calm.”
Nicolas Otamendi scored with a towering header to give Argentina a 1-0 away win over Brazil in a bad-tempered World Cup qualifier that was delayed by half an hour after police clashed with fans at a sold-out Maracana Stadium https://t.co/7QruEXUnyU
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 22, 2023
Both Argentina and some members of the Brazil team made efforts to pacify the situation. Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa even attempted to disarm a police officer. The match was resumed after a 30-minute delay, following the relocation of Argentina fans to a designated area as per the police intervention.
Brazil captain Marquinhos expressed concern alongside Argentina players, emphasizing the distress caused to families and children witnessing the chaotic scenes in the stands.
This incident follows previous altercations between fans of Fluminense and Boca Juniors at the Maracana during the Copa Libertadores final, underscoring the recurring security problems at the historic stadium.
Despite the unsettling circumstances, Argentina emerged triumphant with a 1-0 victory, consolidating their position at the top of the South American qualifying table. Brazil, on the other hand, suffered their first home World Cup qualifier defeat, leaving them in sixth place in the standings.