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Thu 15 Oct by Mark Gleeson

Briefs

* Holders SuperSport United begin the defence of their MTN8 title away from home against newcomers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila tomorrow without midfielder Sipho Mbule and left-winger Kudakwashe Mahachi. Mbule returned to training this week after a knee injury suffered in pre-season, which kept him out of the Bafana Bafana squad. He is not yet match fit according to coach Kaitano Tembo. Mahachi is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

* Kevin De Bruyne asked to be taken off late in Belgium’s Nations League game with England at Wembley on Sunday and then did not travel to Iceland for Wednesday’s international, allegedly because of a hamstring strain. It leaves in doubt his participation in tomorrow’s clash between Manchester City and Arsenal in the Premier League.

* Joe Ali Meza is likely to be thrown straight into action for Maritzburg United on Sunday when they tackle Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8. Meza joined them this week on a two-year deal from Mamelodi Sundowns, who have replaced him as lead striker with Kermit Erasmus from Cape Town City.

* Napoli ended their isolation period in a seaside resort and allowed their players to return home this week. Their bubble was created after the Azzurri were not allowed to travel to Turin two weekends ago to face Juventus as they had had three confirmed cases of COVID-19. The local health authority gave the green light for the group to end its isolation after regular checks over a week. All proved negative and Napoli should take to the park tomorrow against Atalanta.

* Real Madrid have been handed a boost as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has recovered from a hip injury that kept him out of international duty and will be ready to play against Cadiz tomorrow. He has suffered some discomfort in the lower back and was allowed to leave the Belgian camp without playing in any of their three internationals over the last 10 days. Courtois has kept three clean sheets in his opening four LaLiga matches.