Estudiantes replace unwell Neumann

ABU DHABI - South American champions Estudiantes have been allowed to bring in a replacement to their Club World Cup squad because forward Jeronimo Neumann is ill, the world governing body FIFA said on Sunday.

Federico Fernandez has been added to the squad under coach Alejandro Sabella, who will also be without injured forwards Jose Salgueiro and Marcelo Carrusca for Tuesday's semi-final against Asian champions Pohang Steelers.

Carrusca, now a doubt to line up alongside Mauro Boselli up front in place of Uruguayan Salgueiro, pulled up with a left leg muscle problem during a rain-disrupted practice.

Central defender Leandro Desabato, the Argentine side's usual target in the box at corners, has also done only light training over the last three days but should be in the starting lineup against the South Koreans, according to team medical sources.

The depletion in Sabella's attacking options began last month when 39-year-old Jose Luis Calderon unexpectedly brought forward his retirement by six months and Estudiantes were denied permission to bring back former forward Jose Sosa on loan from Bayern Munich.

Another problem, which has affected all teams equally at the tournament, is the rainfall over the last three days, which was especially hard in spells on Sunday and disrupted practices.

It had not rained in Abu Dhabi since April, according to organisers, while locals said that although rain was not unusual in December a lot more than was common had already fallen during the tournament that started last Wednesday.

Estudiantes, favourites to beat Pohang and go through to a final against European champions Barcelona, spent part of the morning in one of the city's main shopping malls. Captain Juan Sebastian Veron, a big attraction for local fans, exchanged a few words with FIFA president Sepp Blatter who also happened to be touring the mall.

Barcelona, whose semi-final against CONCAF champions Atlante of Mexico on Wednesday will be their third match in eight days in three competitions, were late arrivals on Sunday night after their 1-0 win over Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday.