Thu, 19 May 2022

QUITO, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Los Angeles FC midfielder Jose Cifuentes has been drafted into Ecuador's squad for 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Peru, the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) said on Monday.

Cifuentes, who has three Ecuador caps, was called up following the withdrawals of Barcelona SC right-back Byron Castillo and Atletico San Luis center-back Fernando Leon.

"Following medical evaluations and considering the immediacy of the [team's] commitments, Byron Castillo and Fernando Leon have been omitted from the national squad," read a FEF statement.

Castillo has yet to regain full fitness after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in December while Leon's ailment has not been disclosed.

Ecuador will meet Brazil in Quito on January 27 and Peru in Lima five days later.

The Tricolor are currently third in the South American qualifying zone with 23 points from 14 matches. Victories in their next two games would guarantee Gustavo Alfaro's men a berth at the World Cup, to be played in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

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