LIMA: Peru’s team doctor has denied administering a stimulant that led FIFA to ban captain Paolo Guerrero from two imminent World Cup qualifying playoff ties against New Zealand.

Guerrero tested positive for a stimulant after the Argentina-Peru match on Oct. 5 and was given a preliminary 30-day suspension, according to Reuters.

The ban rules out Guerrero from the first leg against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday and the return in Lima four days later with a place in the finals in Russia at stake.

Dr Julio Segura told local media: “At the national team, we are aware of what anti-doping control is so we don’t use any substances that produce doping (results). It’s a shame what happened with Paolo but I am sure there was no problem from our side.”

Peru hope to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982.

Guerrero, 33, has scored 32 goals in 83 appearances and his on field presence is one of the main reasons the South American side are so close to a fifth finals appearance but their first since 1982.

He has been replaced in the squad by Yordy Reyna Serna, the 24-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps forward.