Cagliari forward Joao Pedro suspended for doping

Cagliari's Joao Pedro celebrates after scoring during the italian serie A soccer match between Bologna and Cagliari at Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (Giorgio Benvenuti/AP)

ROME — Cagliari forward Joao Pedro has been suspended indefinitely after testing positive for a banned substance, becoming the second Serie A player this season to be banned for failing a doping test.

Italy’s national anti-doping organization announced the decision on Friday _ Joao Pedro’s 26th birthday _ after the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide was found in his system following Cagliari drawing with Sassuolo 0-0 on Feb. 11.

Joao Pedro signed a new contract at the start of the season but has had a mixed campaign and was suspended for four matches for simulation and stamping on an opponent during a match against Fiorentina at the end of December.

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

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

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