|Nicolas Otamendi celebrates with Enzo Fernandes after heading Argentina in front against Brazil in their World Cup qualifying game at the Maracana Stadium. Argentina won 1-0. (Photo credit: GOAL)
For the first time in history, Brazil lost a home game in a World Cup qualifying encounter, and guess who ended such an illustrious record? The World Champions.
In a tempestuous atmosphere that saw the game delayed for about half an hour due to clashes between local police and fans, Argentina endured a torrid and hostile atmosphere to defeat the Selecao 1-0 to take the driving seat in their qualifying pool.
It’s back-to-back losses for the five-time champions of the world, but the latest will hurt more considering the opposition and the stake. Nicolas Otamendi rose the highest to head home the winner from a corner just after the hour mark, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
It went from bad to worse for the hosts as substitute Joelinton got his marching orders for a clash with Rodrigo De Paul, leaving Brazil with ten men and a goal to chase. In 64 previous home qualifiers, Brazil had won 51 and drawn 13 without a single loss.
Lionel Messi's drought at the Maracana Stadium continues after he was substituted in the 78th minute without being able to find the back of the net; it was his fifth attempt at the stadium and probably his last.
His substitution earned mixed reactions among the fans at the stadium, with the cheers only coming from the away end. Argentina sits on top of the group with 15 points, while Brazil sits eight points behind the World Champions in 6th place.