Crowd violence delays start of Argentina v Brazil World Cup qualifier


The start of the World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was delayed by half an hour on Tuesday after police clashed with fans at Maracana Stadium.

Locals and Argentinian fans started fighting during the playing of the national anthems prompting the Brazilian police to charge the visiting contingent, who responded by ripping up and throwing seats at the officers.

Fans near the trouble panicked and came onto the pitch to escape the fighting. At least one injured fan was taken from the stadium on a stretcher.

The Argentina team, led by captain Lionel Messi, went over to the terraces to try and calm the situation before leaving the pitch and returning to the dressing room.

The world champion Argentina team eventually returned once the police had corralled the travelling fans in a pen and the match between South America's fiercest footballing rivals started after a delay of about 30 minutes.

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil were hoping their fans at the sold-out stadium would help them get their campaign back on track after they lost successive qualifiers for the first time in their history.

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