Argentina secured victory with a header from Nicolas Otamendi in the 63rd minute. This win came after their defeat to Uruguay last week, and it was a satisfying victory against their South American rivals.
Argentina’s victory at Rio’s famous Maracana Stadium puts them in first place in the South American qualifying standings, having earned 15 points from six games.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s third defeat in the qualifying round has put the five-time world champions in sixth place, having accumulated seven points from six games.
Just before the game started at the Maracana, there was a heated situation in the stands. Brazilian police were seen using batons to push back a group of Argentine fans at one end of the stadium.
A few players from Argentina approached the disturbances, seemingly trying to ask for calm. Goalkeeper Emi Martinez even tried to jump into the seating area at one point to confront a Brazilian police officer who was wielding a baton.
After the clashes continued, Lionel Messi and the rest of Argentina’s players made their way back to their dressing rooms. It seemed like Messi said, “We’re not going to play anymore; we’re leaving.”
The winners of the 2022 World Cup came back onto the field around 10 p.m. local time. The match started about 30 minutes later than planned.
The atmosphere before the match was filled with excitement, and it carried over onto the field when the game started. Within just five minutes, Gabriel Jesus, the Arsenal striker from Brazil, received a yellow card for a clash with Rodrigo De Paul from Argentina.
The contest remained tense throughout the first half, which was not very exciting. Both teams struggled to create scoring chances, and there were many small fouls throughout the game.
In the 14th minute, Raphinha, the Brazilian winger, received a yellow card for hitting De Paul in the face with his arm. He was fortunate not to get another yellow card just five minutes later when he made a reckless studs-up challenge on Alexis MacAllister.
On the other hand, Brazil couldn’t manage to take a single shot, whether on target or off target, until the 38th minute, when Raphinha’s free-kick deflected wide for a corner.
In the entire first half, there was only one shot on goal from either team. It happened in the 44th minute when Gabriel Martinelli from Brazil took advantage of a mistake by Argentina’s goalkeeper Martinez and struck the ball towards the goal. Additionally, you can also read about- Brazil’s New Generation Eager to Step Up in Neymar’s Absence
Martinelli took a shot that seemed destined for the net, but Argentina’s defenders were relieved when Cristian Romero managed to block the ball right on the goal line.
After 54 minutes, Brazil came out stronger in the second half. Raphinha made a shot towards the near post, but Martinez managed to block it.
After a great run by Gabriel, Martinez once again came to Argentina’s rescue by blocking Martinelli’s shot that was heading towards the goal.
However, Brazil faced a setback when Argentina scored the first goal of the match in the 63rd minute with their first shot on target.
Giovani Lo Celso delivered a well-placed corner from the left side, and the experienced Otamendi, who is 35 years old, leaped above Brazil’s midfielder Andre to score with a powerful header, giving his team a 1-0 lead.
Brazil had a really tough night, and things took a turn for the worse in the 82nd minute. Joelinton, who had just come onto the field 12 minutes earlier as a substitute, was shown a red card for getting into a clash with De Paul away from the ball.