Peru star forward Paolo Guerrero is set to miss his country’s World Cup playoff against New Zealand after testing positive for a banned substance following last month’s 0-0 qualifying draw with Argentina, sources have told ESPN FC in Argentina.
According to the source, the Peru Football Federation has already been notified of the positive test by CONMEBOL.
Sources close to the player told ESPN Brazil — who reported the ban was for a “social drug” — that Guerrero, a player for Rio de Janeiro giants Flamengo, “didn’t know anything” and was “surprised by the news” once relayed to him on Friday.
Fernando Solera, the president of the Brazilian federation’s anti-doping commission, who also serves as a doping official for FIFA, told ESPN Brazil that Peru’s all-time leading goal scorer said he only used flu medication.
And Guerrero’s lawyers said the player has denied using any type of banned substance.
Four players underwent mandatory doping tests following the Oct. 5 match in Buenos Aires: Paulo Dybala and Alejandro “Papu” Gomez of Argentina, and Guerrero and Edison Flores of Peru.
Peru’s first-leg playoff match against New Zealand will be played at Westpac Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11. The second leg will be played at the Estadio Nacional de Lima in Peru’s capital on Nov. 15.
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