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Argentine side to use Viagra to combat altitude in Quito

Argentina's Union de Santa Fe
Union de Santa Fe players will use Viagra for their Copa Sudamericana match against Independiente del Valle in Ecuador.

Argentine side Union de Santa Fe will use Viagra to combat altitude when they face Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito on Wednesday.

The match will take place at the Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa, which lies 2,850 metres above sea level.

Altitude has had an adverse effect on several teams in recent times -- with Argentina losing 6-1 away to Bolivia in a 2010 World Cup qualifier. But Union have prepared ahead, and will use the drug "Sildenafil" -- more commonly known as Viagra.

"There are two reasons high altitude leaves players lacking air," club doctor Santiago Calvo told local radio station Sol 91.5. "On the one side, there is less oxygen.

"For this, we have oxygen tubes to be used before the match, at half-time and after the game. The other side is the pressure from the atmosphere. This increased pressure creates a vasoconstriction; the arteries become smaller around the lungs.

"This decreases the interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide -- and that is where the Viagra comes in. It widens the blood vessels around the lungs."

Calvo added: "No player is obligated to take [the drug] -- but it is not a banned medication."

The use of Viagra to combat high altitude is fairly common, with the Argentina national side implementing it when they returned to La Paz in 2017.

Union won the first round first leg against Independiente 2-0.

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