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Argentina’s coach Lionel Scanloni and some players to miss World Cup qualifier vs Chile due to COVID-19 related issues

EZEIZA, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 26: Head coach of Argentina Lionel Scaloni (C) gives instructions to his players Rodrigo De Paul (R) during a training session at Julio H. Grondona Training Camp on January 26, 2022 in Ezeiza, Argentina. (Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images)

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni will not take charge of their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Chile on Friday, having tested positive for COVID-19.

Players of Argentina lift in the air their Head Coach Lionel Scaloni after winning the Final of Copa America Brazil 2021 ,during the Final Match between Brazil and Argentina (Getty Images)

Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister will also not travel after returning a positive test for the virus while Aston Villa’s Emi Buendia will be absent as he has been identified as a close contact.

Scaloni’s assistant Pablo Aimar will not be with the team due to being a close contact. Assistant coaches Walter Samuel, Roberto Ayala and Diego Placente are the coaching staff who will be present.

In Wednesday’s press conference Scaloni said: “Both Aimar and I are not going to be able to be part of the delegation. Pablo has been in his house for several days due to close contact.

“I completed the isolation several days ago, but I continue to test positive. To enter Chile you need a negative (test result).

“Walter Samuel, Roberto Ayala and Diego Placente are going to be present as part of the coaching staff.

“On the other hand, as the latest news, Alexis Mac Allister tested positive last night. He and Buendía, for being a close contact, they won’t be able to travel either.”

Argentina have already qualified for the 2022 Qatar World Cup alongside Brazil. Chile, however, sit sixth, one point behind Columbia and Peru.

There are two more automatic qualification places left with four games remaining. The fifth-placed team will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.

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