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Monday, June 21, 2021

COVID-hit River Plate win with midfielder Enzo Perez in goal, no substitutes

With COVID-19 cases surging in Argentina, River Plate had 20 players test positive and others were injured, reducing their squad to 11 fit players for the Copa Libertadores contest.

By: Reuters | Buenos Aires |
Updated: May 20, 2021 11:13:36 am
River Plate's Enzo Perez and teammates celebrate after the Copa Libertadores match. (Reuters)

A COVID-19 outbreak and injury problems saw River Plate face Colombia’s Independiente with midfielder Enzo Perez playing in goal and no substitutes on the bench but the Argentines still emerged with a 2-1 win in Wednesday’s Copa Libertadores game.

With novel coronavirus cases surging in Argentina, River had 20 players test positive and others were injured, reducing their squad to 11 fit players for the match in Buenos Aires.

Four goalkeepers were among those affected but a request to register their fifth- and sixth-choice goalkeepers was rejected by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

Veteran midfielder Perez started in goal behind an inexperienced team but was rarely troubled by Independiente, who have yet to win in this year’s Libertadores, the South American equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.

Fabrizio Angileri put River ahead after just three minutes and Julian Alvarez doubled their lead three minutes later.

Kelvin Osorio spoiled Perez’s bid for a clean sheet when he scored after 73 minutes for Independiente, who introduced 15-year-old Hollman McCormick to the action late on.

River held on to secure the win and go top in Group D, with nine points from five games.

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