Cagliari forward Joao Pedro facing four-year doping ban


Technician holds test tube with blood sample at Russian anti-doping laboratory in Moscow.

MILAN - Serie A club Cagliari said Tuesday they were "stunned" after Italian anti-doping officials requested a four-year ban be imposed on forward Joao Pedro for failing a drugs test.

The Brazilian tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide following two games -- against Sassuolo on February 11 and again against Chievo on February 17.

The 26-year-old&39;s case will be heard before a court of Italy&39;s national anti-doping organisation NADO on May 16.

In a statement the Sardinian club expressed their "astonishment at the length of the request".

"The club remains firmly convinced of Joao Pedro&39;s good faith and personal and sporting loyalty," the statement added.

Joao Pedro insists he unwittingly consumed contaminated food supplements, and his lawyers remain confident he will be cleared.

A scorer of six goals this season, he has been suspended indefinitely by the club.

He would be the second Serie A player this season to be banned for failing a doping test.

Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni was banned for a year in January for doping after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after his side lost 1-0 to Torino in September.

Benevento team doctor Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

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