Portugal's Pepe tests positive, ruled out of qualifier against Turkey

AP , Tuesday 22 Mar 2022

Veteran defender Pepe has been ruled out of Portugal's World Cup qualifier against Turkey after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Porto s Pepe reacts after missing a scoring chance during the Europa League round of 16, second leg, soccer match between Lyon and FC Porto at the Groupama stadium in Lyon, France, Thursday, March 17, 2021. (AP)

The Portuguese Football Federation said Pepe has gone into isolation and Tiago Djalo of French club Lille was called as his replacement ahead of Thursday's playoff game in Porto.

It wasn't yet clear if the 39-year-old Pepe, who plays for Porto, would be able to play the second qualifier next week if Portugal advanced past Turkey.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos also won't be able to count on the injured Ruben Dias, the team's other regular starting central defender.

Midfielder Ruben Neves is also unavailable because of an injury.

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