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Soccer-Dalian's Rondon set to miss Venezuela World Cup qualifiers

HONG KONG, Oct 5 - Salomon Rondon looks set to miss Venezuela’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Paraguay as he prepares to help his Chinese Super League club Dalian Pro in their fight against relegation.

Venezuela begin their attempt to qualify for the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022 on Oct. 9 against Carlos Queiroz’s Colombia before taking on Paraguay four days later.

However, former Newcastle United striker Rondon has remained in China with Dalian posting on their official social media account on Monday that all their players, with the exception of Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik, had reported for training ahead of the restart of the CSL campaign.

Hamsik has travelled to Europe to link up with his national team for their Euro 2020 playoff against the Republic of Ireland, ruling him out of the relegation playoffs as he would have to undergo 14 days quarantine upon his return to China.

Dalian coach Rafa Benitez had been keen to avoid losing the 31-year-old Rondon, who has scored nine times in 14 games in the CSL so far this season.

The CSL’s 16 teams were divided into two groups for a campaign truncated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the top four in each group facing off to determine the champions while the bottom quartet meet in the fight to avoid relegation.

Dalian finished seventh in their group and will meet Shijiazhuang Ever Bright in the opening round of the playoffs. (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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