Soccer-S. Korea's Qatar clash in doubt, 6 players coronavirus-positive

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Six South Korea players and a member of the team’s staff tested positive for the new coronavirus before their 3-2 defeat by Mexico in an international soccer friendly on Saturday, casting doubts over their clash with Qatar on Tuesday.

Yonhap news agency reported that South Korea were initially informed of four players and one staff member testing positive around 20 hours before they began their 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.

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.

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 are scheduled to face Asian Cup winners Qatar in a friendly in Maria Enzersdorf, Austria on Tuesday. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)