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Bonucci and Barella out of Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta on Sunday

Nicolo Barella in action against England on Thursday. Photo; AFP

Italy will be without defender Leonardo Bonucci and midfielder Nicolò Barella for Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta at the National Stadium.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is looking to help the European champions bounce back from Friday’s 2-1 defeat to England at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples with victory over Malta on Sunday.

However, Mancini will have to reach that goal without both Barella and Bonucci.

Barella was included in Italy’s starting formation but was forced to be substituted after 62 minutes after he picked up a few knocks against the English side on Friday.

Italy doctors examined Barella and decided that the player is not in the condition to be involved in a second match this weekend, against Malta on Sunday.

The Inter midfielder is expected to be assessed by his club doctors in the next few hours in a bid to recover full fitness in time of the resumption of the Italian Serie A.

Bonucci’s absence for Sunday’s match was somewhat expected as the Juventus defender joined the national team not fully fit and spent the majority of his time with the squad working in the gym to step up his recovery.

Now, the experienced defender will return with his club Juventus to step up his rehabilitation.

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