River Plate midfielder forced to play in net after COVID outbreak, wins MOTM

River Plate midfielder Enzo Perez received the Man of the Match award for his performance during their 2-1 Copa Libertadores victory over Independiente Santa Fe – as a goalkeeper.

The Argentinian played in goal as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak at the club, with 20 players testing positive.

Four of the club’s goalkeepers tested positive, and River Plate were not allowed to register any other goalkeepers.

The responsibility thus fell on Perez’s shoulders – one of just 11 players available for the match, though he too was actually carrying an injury.

River went 2-0 up inside just six minutes through Fabricio Angileri and Julian Alvarez.

Perez made four saves throughout the 90 minutes, with River’s defence having to withstand heavy pressure in the second half.

One of those saves was an effort from long range which the 34-year-old was able to parry behind.

Perez and the defence held firm until 73 minutes, when Kelvin Osorio pulled one back for the Colombian side.

Despite that setback, River held on to record a victory which puts them top of Group D.

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Perez was handed the Man of the Match award for his efforts, and his Wikipedia page has been updated to show him as a midfielder/goalkeeper.

Perez said after the game that he used “the penalty point as a reference“.

River are next in action on May 25 against Brazilian side Fluminense – it remains to be seen whether the 34-year-old has a second game in goal.

The Argentinian joined River in 2017, having spent six years in European football with Benfica and Valencia.

He has made 26 caps for the Argentina national team, last featuring during the 2018 World Cup.

Featured Image Credit: Getty