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Goalkeeper Bonello fractures arm, faces fitness race for Champions League qualifiers

Henry Bonello is facing a race against time to be fit for Ħamrun Spartans’ opening matches in this season’s Champions League qualifiers after the goalkeeper fractured his arm during Malta’s 1-0 defeat against Ukraine in Trnava on Monday.

The towering goalkeeper was forced to leave the pitch in first-half stoppage time after he was hurt following a challenge by Ukraine forward Vladyslav Vanat and was replaced by young goalkeeper Matthew Grech.

The Spartans goalkeeper’s condition was checked by the Malta national team’s medical team after the match and the veteran player was taken to hospital in Trnava for further checks.

Bonello underwent a scan on his arm and the initial prognosis said that the goalkeeper had suffered a fracture in his hand, putting his participation in Ħamrun Spartans’ opening matches in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers next month in doubt.

It is understood that upon his return to Malta, Bonello will be visited by the Spartans medical team to understand better his recovery timeframe.

On Tuesday, Ħamrun Spartans will discover their opponents in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League when the draws are made in Nyon.

Although no timeframe has been set on when Bonello is likely to return, however, the former Valletta and Sliema Wanderers goalkeeper is likely to be out for at least four weeks and it remains to be seen whether he will need surgery to ensure he has a full recovery.

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