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Cleared Guerrero heads Peru's World Cup squad

NEWS
News
81   //    04 Jun 2018, 17:36 IST

Lima, Jun 4 (AFP) Freed from his doping ban, Peru's captain and main goalscorer Paolo Guerrero was on Monday included in the country's pared-down World Cup squad at the expense of midfielder Sergio Pena.

Pena signalled that he had been omitted with a post of his Instagram account on Sunday after playing as a second-half substitute as Peru beat Saudi Arabia, 3-0, in a World Cup warmup game.

"Today I have lived through the hardest moment of my career," wrote Pena, who plays for Granada in Spain.

"I feel that I did not do enough to be able play in the greatest tournament in the world and represent my country in the best way."

Guerrero, freshly restored to the team, scored twice against the Saudis, in Saint Gallen, Switzerland, the first after 41 minutes.

"Paolo's goal was very emotional," coach Ricardo Gareca was quoted as saying on the Peruvian football federation web site.

"It made me very happy." Now 34, the talismanic captain, who has hit 34 goals for his country, was restored to the team after a bruising legal battle to overturn a ban for doping which almost went wrong when the initial appeal was rejected and the punishment extended to include the World Cup.

Guerrero joined Bayern Munich as a teenager and then played six seasons for Hamburg before returning to South America in 2012 to join Corinthians. He now plays for another Brazilian club, Flamengo.

He scored the late equaliser against Colombia that saw Peru edge into fifth place in the South American qualifying group and secure a play-off against New Zealand, which Peru won even though Guerrero was by then suspended.

Peru will also need a spark from another veteran attacker Jefferson Farfan, a 33-year-old who made a name for himself at PSV Eindhoven and Schalke and now plays in Russia for Lokomotiv Moscow.

Peru are going to their first World Cup since 1982. They open their Group C campaign against Denmark in Saransk on June 16. They then play France, one of the cup favourites, and Australia.

Peru face Sweden in Gothenburg on June 9 in their final warmup game

NEWS
Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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