Ronaldo on the mend
Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo is set to shrug off a weekend shoulder injury sustained playing for Real Madrid in time for Friday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier with Russia, the Portuguese team doctor said on Monday. “We think we can get him fit in time for the Russia match,” Dr Henrique Jones said. Ronaldo suffered a sprain during Real’s 2-2 draw with FC Barcelona, but still joined up with the national squad. The striker, who scored both of his club’s goals at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on Sunday, landed heavily on his shoulder after trying to score with an overhead kick in the 64th minute. Paulo Bento’s squad met up on Monday in the central city of Obidos, ahead of their trip to Moscow before they face Northern Ireland on Tuesday next week in Porto. Real Madrid defender Pepe and Valencia fullback Joao Pereira are also looking to shrug off knocks ahead of the Russia game — a crucial showdown with both countries having won their opening two qualifiers.
Injury rules out Hanley
A groin injury has forced Blackburn Rovers defender Grant Hanley to withdraw from the Scotland squad for 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Belgium, while Norwich winger Robert Snodgrass is doubtful with an ankle problem. “Grant Hanley has a groin strain and he is going to miss out,” Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston said, adding: “Snoddy was on the bench on Saturday with Norwich and never got on with his ankle, and it is still giving him a bit of trouble. We are just going to monitor that.” Scotland manager Craig Levein has not called up a replacement for Hanley and will make a decision over Snodgrass in the coming days. Levein also has fitness decisions to make over midfielders Scott Brown (hip) and Darren Fletcher (bowel), who both missed the opening qualifying draws against Serbia and Macedonia.
Sprain sidelines Espinoza
Midfielder Roger Espinoza suffered a right ankle sprain in Sporting Kansas City’s 1-1 Major League Soccer (MLS) draw at Columbus and will be sidelined for up to a month, the team said on Monday. An MRI scan and X-rays on Monday revealed the extent of the damage. Espinoza will miss his country’s CONCACAF (North American) regional 2014 World Cup qualifying matches on Friday against Panama and Canada next Tuesday as a result. Honduras are ahead of Canada on goal difference in their qualifying group with both nations on seven points, two behind group leaders Panama.
Six receive Serie A bans
AC Milan midfielder Massimo Ambrosini and Inter defender Yuto Nagatomo were among six players handed one-game bans by Serie A league officials on Monday. Ambrosini played no part in the Milan derby, won 1-0 by Inter on Sunday, but was sanctioned for jumping off the subs’ bench and on to the technical area to express his anger at a refereeing decision in the 47th minute. Nagatomo picked up a one-game ban for his expulsion. The Japanese player had been cautioned for a foul in the first half and was red-carded for a handball only minutes after the restart. In total six players were banned for one match. The others were Parma pair Yohan Benalouane and Alessandro Lucarelli, Brazilian striker Ze Eduardo of Siena and Torino defender Matteo Darmian.