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Sowetan - - Soccer Strike -

* Bafana striker Dino Ndlovu, who is his club’s top scorer, serves a ban this week as his Az­eri side Qarabağ go to Spain to play Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League. Barcelona de­fender Ger­ard Piqué serves a one­match ban in Greece this week when his club take on Olympiakos. * Fix­ture sched­ul­ing has­sles have caught up with the Premier Soc­cer League who are forced to play Telkom Knock­out quar­ter-fi­nals the week af­ter the first round, leav­ing lit­tle time for the draw and fix­ture ar­range­ments. This is the first time cup ties have been played on suc­ces­sive week­ends.

* Manch­ester City have no plans to make a cut-price bid for Chilean for­ward Alexis Sanchez dur­ing the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow and will rather wait to get him for free at the end of the sea­son. They are ready to wreak revenge on the Gun­ners over their de­ci­sion to scup­per a 60-mil­lion Pound dead­line-day deal, but lat­est talk is that Ever­ton is in­ter­ested in sign­ing Sanchez in Jan­uary. * Zine­dine Zi­dane in­sists Real Madrid only lacked con­cen­tra­tion around Girona’s two goals on Sun­day and not in­ten­sity nor ef­fort. Madrid slumped to a 2-1 de­feat in their first-ever meet­ing with Girona, prompt­ing fears that Los Blan­cos had lost their de­sire as they fell eight points be­hind Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Zi­dane added that his side would “lift them­selves”.

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