Nicolas Otamendi’s fine header in the second half gave Argentina a 1-0 win over archrivals Brazil in the South American World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday evening. The kick off was delayed at the Maracana by over half an hour after the Brazilian authorities baton-ed a section of Argentina fans. The visitors stormed out of the pitch led by captain Lionel Messi as play resumed only after calmness had ensured.
Neither side could garner any sort of momentum in the first half with persistent fouling by the Brazilian players. The hosts did come close to opening the score but were denied by Cristiano Romero late in the first half as the Tottenham Hotspur defender kept out Gabriel Martinelli’s shot off the line.
It was a much better watch in the second half as both sides looked to seize the initiative. After Emiliano Martinez kept out Martinelli one-on-one, Otamendi scored a stunning header in the 63rd minute from Giovani Lo Celso’s corner. Brazil were then reduced to ten men in the 81st minutes as Argentina once again grabbed the victory in front of the packed Maracana. The result means the World Champions are back at the top of the qualification table with 15 points from 6 games while Brazil dropped to sixth, out of automatic qualification.
As it happened
You can follow along here for live updates as Brazil hosts Argentina in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying. Both sides enter this game after losses in matchday five. Argentina lost at home to Uruguay, 2-0. It was Argentina’s first loss since losing to Saudi Arabia in the first game at the 2022 World Cup. Moreover, it was the first time Argentina conceded since the 2022 World Cup Final against France.
|Brazil vs Argentina
|CONMEBOL 2026 World Cup Qualifying
|7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT • Tuesday, November 21, 2023
|Telemundo, Fubo, DirecTV Stream, ViX
For Brazil, this is almost a must-win game despite being at the one-third mark in qualifying. After picking up one point from its last three games, Brazil slumped to fifth in the qualifying table. Its most recent loss was against Colombia in a game that Brazil took the lead just five minutes in.
Live: Brazil and Argentina look for bounce-back results
Any time these two sides meet, fireworks transpire. Unfortunately, they only met one time during qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. In a frankly bizarre incident, health officials in Brazil ran out on the field as the game against Argentina started. Referees suspended the game. However, with both nations through, the game never happened.
This time around, Brazil needs this game to go on as planned. After two wins to open its qualifying account, Brazil has struggled mightily in its last three games. Losses on the road against Uruguay and Colombia followed a draw at home to Venezuela. Throughout those games, Brazil has battled key injuries. Neymar may miss the 2024 Copa America and all games beforehand with a torn ACL from the Uruguay game. Casemiro remains sidelined, which has led to goals pouring in. Gabriel Jesus and Vinicius are also battling injuries. They will not be present for the game against Argentina.
The defending World Cup champions have not had those same injury problems. Prior to the loss at La Bombonera against Uruguay, Argentina was cruising through qualifying. Four wins from its first four games led to no goals against. At the same time, Argentina comfortably defeated its opposition. A win at Brazil would not only reaffirm its spot at the top of the table. It would deal a blow to its biggest rivals, potentially sinking them into a spot that would not automatically qualify.
Full Time: Brazil 0-1 Argentina
Late free kick for Brazil but its again well defended by Argentina, the resulting shot is straight at Martinez. The World Champions have won again at the Maracana.
The Argentine players rush to their section of fans to celebrate
90+2' Commanding goalkeeping from Martinez
Brazil's crossing are well held everytime by Emiliano Martinez who's having a fine game.
89' Excellent game management from Argentina
Scaloni's team have done a great job keeping Brazil at bay, and protecting their lead.
81' Joelinton sent off
Brazil are down to ten men as Joleinton is sent off for a cynical elbow on the face on De Paul.
79' More changes
Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez make way for Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez
For Brazil, Douglas Luiz and Raphael Vega come on for Guimaraes and Martinelli
68' Both sides make changes
Argentina: Lo Celso and Enzo Fernandez are off, Paredes and Nico Gonzalez come in
Brazil: Joelinton and Endrick are on for Gabriel and Raphinha
66' Argentina make a switch
Tagliafico comes on for Acuna.
63' Brazil 0-1 Argentina
This is an astonishing header from Otamendi from Lo Celso's corner. Alisson had no chance. Against the run of play, the World Champions have the lead.
58' Martinez denies Brazil again
Gabriel Jesus runs past the Argentine defense as Martinelli is through on goal but yet again Emiliano Martinez saves his side denying the Arsenal striker.
54' Emiliano Martinez denies Raphinha
Great switch of play from Brazil into the right wing as Raphinha gets past Acuna but the Barcelona star is denied by Emiliano Martinez.
51' Brazil dominating possesion
The hosts have started the better of the two sides dominating the ball.
46' Second half starts
Argentina get us underway in the second half. Meanwhile, Marquinhos has been taken off and replaced by Nino.
Half Time: Brazil 0-0 Argentina
Brazil have come close twice, but the hosts have resorted to consistent fouling to keep the World Champions at bay. This has not been a great watch ever since we got underway after the crowd trouble early on.
It can only get better in the second half.
44' Brazil come close again
From a corner, Martinelli's shot is cleared off the line by Romero.
38' Raphinha comes close
Brazil have a freekick in a dangerous position which Raphinha takes... and the Barcelona man comes close. The hosts have a corner but nothing comes out of it.
30' Both teams at it now
Finally, both sides are looking to attack each other in search of the opening goal. Lo Celso has been bright for Argentina in midfield.
25' Argentina looking to build from the back
The visitors finally have some rhythm as they look to mount the attack from the back. This is much better to watch now.
20' Consistent fouls by Brazil
Looks like the hosts have come to the game with a clear plan. Foul on the opposition everytime they lose the ball. This has been a very poor watch so far.
14' Yellow card for Raphinha
Yet another hand on face on De Paul, this time by Raphinha, rightfully gets a yellow.
11' Brazil resorting on early fouls
There's no real momentum from either side as the hosts have stifled their opponents by playing hard in the opening minutes.
5' Yellow card for Gabriel Jesus
A cynical hand to the face by the Arsenal striker on De Paul. Rightfully gets booked.
We are underway
At last, the hosts get us underway
Argentina players are back out in the pitch
Will we get a game?
Here's what happened
Brazil security incompetence again
During the Brazil anthem, the security officials started attacking Argentine fans.
Argentina players are heading off to the tunnel
Bot good news this as Argentina players have walked off to the tunnel. Brazil players, meanwhile, are still on the pitch.
The delay goes on
Crowd trouble early on
Both sets of players are trying to make peace with the crowd to calm things down. There is a scuffle going on between both sets of fans in the south section. Not the start we wanted.
Can Argentina come on top?
Fun fact: Brazil has never lost a World Cup qualifier at home.
At the enemy's den
The players are out in the middle
We are not far away now
Huge ovation for Messi at the Maracana
What a reception...
This should be a cracker
The last time these two sides squared off against each other at the Maracana was the 2021 Copa America Final Argentina won 1-0.
The lineups are in
Brazil: Alisson, Emerson, Marquinhos, Gabriel, Augusto, Andre, Guimaraes, Raphinha, Rodrygo, Martinelli, Jesus
Argentina: Emiliano Martinez, Molina, Otamendi, Romero, Acuna, Lo Celso, MacAllister, Enzo Fernandez, De Paul, Messi, Julian Alvarez
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