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Spectator brawl causes delay in Argentina-Brazil World Cup qualifier

Lionel Messi led his Argentina lineup off the field due to a brawl between rival fans in Brazil, which delayed their South American World Cup qualifier by 27 minutes on Tuesday at the Maracana Stadium. The match was tense and Argentina won 1-0, celebrating with their fans long after the final whistle. Messi said they were more worried about the safety of the players’ families than playing the match. Both teams had earlier asked fans for calm, after the national anthems echoed around the stadium the violence began, police used batons to break up the fight. Argentina returned after 22 minutes in the locker rooms, and warmed up for several minutes before the match was finally started. Brazil fans chanted against Messi when he returned to the pitch. Argentina leads South American World Cup qualifying and Brazil is in the sixth position. The heated debate over who is the best footballer in history has intensified the rivalry. Brazil’s Fluminense won the Copa Libertadores final at the Maracana Stadium after a week of street fights between some of its supporters and those of Argentina’s Boca Juniors.