South Korea’s Qatar clash in doubt, six players coronavirus-positive

Six South Korea players and a member of the team’s staff tested positive for the new coronavirus before the team’s 3-2 defeat by Mexico in a friendly.

South Korea's Uijo Hwang (left) celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal on Saturday. - AP

Six South Korea players and a member of the team’s staff tested positive for the new coronavirus before the team’s 3-2 defeat by Mexico in an international football friendly on Saturday, casting doubts over its clash with Qatar on Tuesday.

Yonhap news agency reported that South Korea was initially informed of four players and one staff member testing positive around 20 hours before it began its first international match of the year in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

A retest of players who tested negative returned two more positives and the match was played only after discussions with the Mexican Football Federation and the Austrian Football Association.

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The Korea Football Association said in a statement that a game could go ahead as long as a team has 13 healthy players with at least one goalkeeper, Yonhap reported, adding South Korea had 19 players including two goalkeepers available.

Ten days in quarantine

The initial four players who tested positive were Kwon Chang-hoon, Hwang In-beom, Lee Dong-jun and Jo Hyeon-woo, with Kim Moon-hwan and Na Sang-ho joining them on the list later.

All the players and the member of staff will have to spend 10 days in quarantine in Austria.

Hwang Ui-jo and Kwon Kyung-won scored on either side of the break for South Korea while Mexico netted three times in three minutes in the second half, through Raul Jimenez, Uriel Antuna and Carlos Salcedo, to seal the victory.

South Korea is scheduled to face Asian Cup winner Qatar in a friendly in Maria Enzersdorf, Austria on Tuesday.

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