Soccer-River Plate plead for goalkeeper after squad depleted by COVID-19

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Copa de la Liga - Boca Juniors v River Plate

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - River Plate may be forced to use an outfield player in goal for their next Copa Libertadores tie after all four of the club's registered keepers tested positive for COVID-19.

River said in a statement they had asked the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) for special dispensation to include goalkeepers Leo Diaz and Agustin Gomez in their squad for Wednesday’s game against Independiente of Santa Fe.

Diaz made his debut on Sunday in River’s league defeat by Boca Juniors.

CONMEBOL told Reuters it had responded to the request although neither the governing body nor the club made the answer public. Media reports in Argentina said the request had been denied.

Such an outcome would mean River, who are second in their Libertadores group with six points from four games, may only be able to muster 10 men to face Independiente.

The club have lost 20 players to positive COVID-19 tests since Friday and some others are out injured.

Argentina on Tuesday announced a record high death toll of 745 people as a second wave of the virus buffets the South American nation. The overall death toll climbed to 71,771.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on Tuesday offered to host the whole of the Copa America, replacing their current co-hosts Colombia, where a wave of civil unrest has rocked the country since late April.

The tournament is being held in two nations for the first time and is due to kick off on June 13.

(Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo in Buenos Aires, writing by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Toby Davis)

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