QUITO: Five Ecuador players have been suspended indefinitely for “indiscipline” after allegedly partying in Quito before their final World Cup qualifying match against Argentina, the national federation FEF said Friday.
Despite taking an early lead in the match on Tuesday, Ecuador failed to qualify for Russia 2018 after Lionel Messi dragged the Argentinians to a 3-1 win with a stunning hat-trick.
The players, who are accused of leaving the team camp on the outskirts of Quito last Friday night, were not named by the FEF, although they were identified by Ecuadorian media.
According to El Comercio, the suspended players are Robert Arboleda, Jefferson Orejuela, Gabriel Cortez, Enner Valencia and Joao Plata.
“By taking this approach, the FEF sends a very strong signal to future players,” the federation said in a statement.
Ecuador had previously lost 2-1 to Chile, hampering their chances of qualifying before the Argentina match, in which Arboleda, Orejuela and Valencia played.
“It’s a lie,” Orejuela told El Telegrafo, who denies taking part in any shenanigans. — AFP