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SPORTS | 19-05-2021 12:52

Covid-depleted River set to play Libertadores match without goalkeeper

River Plate will have to play a Copa Libertadores match with veteran midfielder Enzo Pérez in goal, after CONMEBOL rejected their request to call up youth team goalkeepers following an outbreak of coronavirus in the squad.

River Plate will have to play a Copa Libertadores match with an outfield player in goal, after CONMEBOL rejected their request to call up youth team goalkeepers following an outbreak of coronavirus in the squad, local press said.

River are due to play Colombians Independiente Santa Fe at the Monumental in Buenos Aires on Wednesday evening, but their squad has been hit by more than 20 coronavirus infections.

With all four goalkeepers listed in their official Libertadores squad – Franco Armani, Germán Lux, Enrique Bologna and Franco Petroli – infected by Covid-19, the four-time champions asked South American football's governing body if they could call up youngsters Alan Leonardo Díaz and Agustín Guzmán.

But according to local press reports on Tuesday, CONMEBOL refused since River had only named 32 players instead of a possible 50-man list for the competition.

Coach Marcelo Gallardo only has 10 fit players, and no goalkeeper, available for the group stage match that could prove crucial to their hopes of making it to the knock-out rounds.

Veteran midfielder Enzo Pérez is expected to play in goal, despite carrying an injury, allowing the Millonario to make up a full team.

Diaz played in goal in an Argentine League Cup defeat to arch-rivals Boca Juniors on Sunday when River were already without 15 players.

River currently sit second in Libertadores Group D, with Santa Fe bottom, with two games remaining but all four clubs have a chance of progressing to the knock-out phase.

– TIMES/AFP

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