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Peru captain Guerrero banned from World Cup in doping case

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GENEVA (AP) Peru captain Paolo Guerrero was banned from playing at the World Cup because of a positive doping test he said was caused by contaminated tea.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Monday it upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency to extend Guerrero’s six-month FIFA ban, which already expired this month.

Guerrero will now be banned for 14 months – an “appropriate sanction … in light of Mr. Guerrero’s degree of fault” – until January, the court said in a statement.

The 34-year-old Guerrero was set to captain Peru in Russia at its first World Cup appearance since 1982. On Sunday he was named in his country’s provisional squad preparing to play France, Denmark and Australia.

Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, at a World Cup qualifying game against Argentina in October. Anti-doping rules prohibit the use of cocaine in an athlete’s competition period though not out of competition

His lawyers argued the stimulant had not been performance enhancing, and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea.

The court said its judging panel “also accepted that he did not attempt to enhance his performance by ingesting the prohibited substance.”

“However, the Panel considered that the Player did bear some fault or negligence, even if it was not significant, and that he could have taken some measures to prevent him from committing the (doping violations),” the court said.

FIFA initially suspended Guerrero for one year through Nov. 3. It reduced the ban in a fast-tracked appeal last December which clearing him to play at the World Cup.

Two weeks ago, the former Bayern Munich player returned to play for his Brazilian club side Flamengo.

Guerrero scored his first goal on Sunday since the suspension, a header in Flamengo’s 3-2 defeat at Chapecoense in the Brazilian championship.

After the match, Guerrero said: “There is no reason for me to be suspended, I did nothing wrong and I trust the court to make the right decision.”

It is the second ruling from sport’s highest court that has weighed heavily on Peru’s first World Cup appearance in 36 years.

CAS gifted Peru three points that were key to advancing from the South American qualifying group in a previous appeal case brought by Bolivia’s soccer federation.

Bolivia fielded an ineligible player in a 2-0 win over Peru, and that result was overturned to a 3-0 loss by default. Without the three extra points, Peru would have fallen below Chile and Paraguay in the standings and out of contention.

Ronaldo’s early tally gives Portugal win over Morocco

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It was far from a convincing performance, but manager Fernando Santos and Co. came away with their first win at the World Cup and now sit in the drivers’ seat in Group B.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Portugal earned a narrow 1-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s early header proved to be the difference.

Santos’ group now sits atop Group B with four points, while Morocco is eliminated after losing its first two matches.

It took just four minutes for Portugal to break the deadlock, with Ronaldo once again at the center of the Portuguese attack.

The Real Madrid man brilliantly latched onto a header at the near post off of a corner kick, giving Ronaldo his fourth goal at this World Cup (seventh goal overall).

Morocco did well to insert its presence in the match following the early goal, but various chances from Medhi Benatia and Hakim Ziyech weren’t enough to break past Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

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The African side also had a legitimate appeal for a penalty kick in the first stanza, however, referee Mark Geiger opted to play on despite the Moroccan protest.

Morocco continued its pressure in the second half, and Patricio was forced to make an incredible save in the 57th minute when Younes Belhanda headed a cross towards the far corner.

Portugal will close out Group B play on June 25 against Iran, while Morocco takes on Spain

Arena says there’s no reason for Pulisic to leave Dortmund

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Christian Pulisic has been the subject of transfer talks for some time now after becoming an instant star at Borussia Dortmund, but one of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s former coaches says it might be wise for him to stay put; at least for now.

MORE: Ronaldo scores fourth goal in World Cup ]

Former USMNT boss Bruce Arena spoke about Pulisic, who has had rumors of moves to Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United surrounding him recently.

Arena cited consistent playing time as the main reason why Pulisic may want to consider holding off on a transfer for now.

“I think Christian is in a great place. Dortmund has a very good reputation for developing players.

“In his couple years there with the first team, he’s done very well. Hopefully, he can continue to do that, be consistent at the club level, and if he does that, he’s going to be a real plus for the national team program.

“Any move Christian makes in the future, it’s important he goes to a club where he plays on a regular basis. There’s no point in him leaving Dortmund and going to a club where he doesn’t get the kind of minutes he needs to continue to develop.”

Pulisic has spent three seasons at Dortmund, scoring 12 goals in all competitions during that span.

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

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He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.