2 Peru players positive for COVID-19 ahead of Brazil match

SAO PAULO (AP) — Two Peru players have been ruled out of the South American World Cup qualifying match against Brazil after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Peruvian soccer federation issued a statement Monday saying strikers Raúl Ruidiaz and Alex Valera have not shown serious symptoms of the coronavirus and have remained in isolation since before the results were known.

Ruidiaz, who played in the 2-2 draw at Paraguay last week, had been expected to be a starter for Tuesday’s game in Lima. Brazil leads the South American World Cup qualifiers after an opening 5-0 win over Bolivia.

The Peru-Brazil game will be played in an empty stadium because of coronavirus restrictions. CONMEBOL, which governs South American soccer, has convinced most local authorities to lift quarantine measures for incoming players.

Health protocols for World Cup qualifiers were approved by FIFA and CONMEBOL for one of the hardest-hit regions by the virus. Peru counts more than 33,000 deaths from COVID-19.

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