Buenos Aires, Sep 16 (IANS) Argentina chief coach Jorge Sampaoli has called up Atalanta forward Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez for pivotal 2018 football World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Ecuador. But there was still no place in the squad for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain as Sampaoli kept faith in Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardo.
Gomez, who was named in Argentina squad on Friday, scored 16 goals in 37 matches for Italian outfit Atalanta last season but is yet to score in the first three fixtures of the current Serie A season, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 29-year-old has been capped just once for the Albiceleste, making a scoring debut in their 6-0 friendly victory over Singapore in June.
Argentina will host Peru in Buenos Aires on October 5 before an away clash against Ecuador in Quito five days later.
The two-time World Cup winners are fifth in South America’s Conmebol standings and must win both of their remaining qualifiers to secure a ticket to Russia next year.
The top four teams will automatically qualify for the quadrennial tournament while the fifth-ranked side will advance to a playoff.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Agustin Marchesin (America).
Defenders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Federico Fazio (Roma), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Emanuel Mammana (Zenit), German Pezzella (Fiorentina).
Midfielders: Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Emiliano Rigoni (Zenit),.
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta).