Levski striker crisis ahead of Chelsea cash

September 26, 2006

SOFIA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Injuries to strikers have given Levski Sofia coach Stanimir Stoilov a headache before Wednesday's long-awaited home debut in the Champions League against Chelsea.

Bulgaria Under-21's Valeri Domovchiiski and his strike partner Emil Angelov are definitely out with injuries.

The absence of Angelov and Domovchiiski had looked to open the door for the experienced Georgi Ivanov, the Bulgarian Premier League's top scorer with eight goals but he suffered a muscle strain in training on Monday.

'I can tell you now that he (Ivanov) will definitely not start the match,' Stoilov told a news conference on Tuesday.

'We'll wait and see how he'll feel tomorrow and we'll take a decision about his inclusion in the squad.'

Stoilov was captain when the 24-times Bulgarian champions met Chelsea in the UEFA Cup five years ago.

'Unfortunately our three first-choice strikers have problems but Levski will continue to play the way we've played so far and we'll be going forward and searching for goals from the start,' Stoilov said.

'I haven't made my final decision yet on who is going to play up front but it will be either Hristo Yovov or moving Cedric Bardon to strike position.'

Yovov, who has scored three goals in 14 European club competition matches, is better known for his left-wing creativity and crosses while Frenchman Bardon is a typical midfielder.