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      Argentina have inflicted a first-ever home World Cup qualifying defeat on Brazil courtesy of a famous 1-0 victory at the Maracana.
      An ill-tempered clash both on and off the field between the two bitter rivals was ultimately settled by a Nicolas Otamendi header as reigning world champions Argentina strengthened their bid to reach the 2026 tournament, while further harming that of the five-time winners.

      The match was delayed by half an hour due to clashes in the stands between Brazilian police and Argentina fans, which became so serious that Argentina players including Lionel Messi and Emiliano Martinez tried to step in and appease the situation.

      Both sets of players were sent back into the dressing room after the national anthems before the match finally got underway, with Brazil looking to avenge Argentina’s 2021 Copa America final win at the same stadium.

      The Selecao had incredibly won 51, drawn 13 and lost none of their home World Cup qualifiers prior to the latest visit of their great rivals, but Otamendi’s towering header shortly after the hour mark brought an end to that proud and long-standing record.

      There was further misery for the home side nine minutes from time as Newcastle United’s Joelinton was harshly shown a straight red card for supposedly lashing out at Rodrigo De Paul off the ball, hampering an injury-hit side’s chances of salvaging a much-needed point.

      The defeat leaves Brazil beginning to have to realistically consider the prospect of missing out on World Cup qualification for the first time ever, having now taken just one point from the last 12 on offer in the CONMEBOL standings and lost three successive matches for the first time since 2001.

      The five-time world champions now sit sixth in the qualifying campaign, which is the final spot which would earn them an automatic place at the 2026 tournament in Canada, USA and Mexico.

      Brazil have also now failed to score in four successive games against Argentina for the first time ever, and find themselves eight points adrift of the group-leading World Cup winners after only six games.

      Elsewhere in South American qualifying, Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez scored twice as Uruguay beat Bolivia 3-0, Colombia and Ecuador both recorded 1-0 wins over Paraguay and Chile respectively, and Peru drew 1-1 with Venezuela.


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