(Reuters) - Argentina’s faltering 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign has been dealt another blow as midfielder Fernando Gago sustained a serious knee injury during Thursday’s 0-0 draw against Peru.
Gago replaced Ever Banega an hour into the game but was forced off within 10 minutes after twisting his knee and having to be replaced by Enzo Perez.
The team later said on their official Twitter account he ruptured ligaments in his right knee.
The 31-year-old was making his first international appearance since sustaining an Achilles tendon rupture in 2015.
Argentina’s hopes of advancing to the World Cup finals in Russia are hanging in the balance as they lie sixth in the 10-team South American group. Only the top four teams automatically qualify.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side are level on 25 points with fifth-placed Peru and one point behind third-placed Chile and Colombia, who are fourth.
Argentina play Ecuador in Quito in their final game on Tuesday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury