Slovak’s Delt double blow as Dubravka ruled out

Slovakia & Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has been ruled out action for at least a month. He sustained a knee injury in last Saturday’s 1-0 win away to Southampton. The Slovak FA also confirmed last week that the upcoming playoff against Ireland on Thursday 26th March will now be played behind closed doors as part of attempts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Dubravka sustained the injury in a clash with Southampton striker Danny Ings. The game was halted in the 59th minute as the keeper received treatment. However, he played on for the full 90. An assessment after the game showed the knock was more serious than first thought.

The 31-year-old Newcastle United keeper has nailed down the no.1 spot at St.James Park since his move from Sparta Prague in January 2018.

Italian problem

Head coach Pavel Hapal also has concerns about the availability of his Italian based players. Seven of his squad play with Italian clubs. Two of his squad were due to face each other last week. Stanislav Lobotka’s Napoli side were due to play Milan Skriniar’s Inter in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Thursday last. That fixture was postponed. Last weekend’s Serie A fixtures were played behind closed doors. All fixtures have since been cancelled in Italy.

Hapal will await further developments in Italy with interest. The availability of his Italian based players has been cast into further doubt today. Roma were not permitted to travel to Spain for their Europa League clash with Sevilla. Inter Milan’s tie at home to Getafe is also off.

There are currently 10,000 confirmed cases in Italy. The country has entered a strict lockdown. In Slovakia, there have only been  10 confirmed cases to date. The European Championship play-off against Ireland in the National Football Stadium in Bratislava will now be played behind closed doors. The decision was made by the Slovak Football Association in conjunction with Governmental advice.

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