Stoichkov rests Levski players for friendly

November 9, 2006

SOFIA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Bulgaria coach Hristo Stoichkov included only two Levski Sofia players when he named an 18-man squad on Thursday to face Slovakia in a friendly in Zilina on Nov. 15.

Stoichkov, who called up six Levski players in his previous squad, reached an agreement with the Sofia-based club's coach Stanimir Stoilov to name a limited number of the Bulgarian champions' players because of their Champions League's engagement.

Litex Lovech defender Petar Zanev is the only recruit in the squad for the visit in Slovakia which will mark the beginning of the post-Stilian Petrov era for Bulgaria.

The Aston Villa midfielder, who was Bulgaria's captain, shocked the team by announcing his retirement from international soccer last month.

Stoichkov, however, will not be able to use another Petrov after Atletico Madrid's Martin Petrov tore a left knee ligament and is expected to be out of action for about six months.

Next week's match at the Stadium pod Dubnom will be the debut for new Slovakia coach Jan Kocian, who recently replaced Dusan Galis.

Goalkeepers: Dimitar Ivankov (Kayserispor), Stoyan Kolev (Lokomotiv Plovdiv).

Defenders: Zhivko Zhelev (Litex Lovech), Valentin Iliev (CSKA Sofia), Petar Zanev (Litex Lovech), Alexandar Tunchev (CSKA Sofia), Radostin Kishishev (Charlton Athletic), Iordan Todorov (CSKA Sofia).

Midfielders: Chavdar Yankov (Hanover), Blagoi Georgiev (Red Star Belgrade), Dimitar Telkiyski (Levski Sofia), Georgi Peev (Dynamo Kiev), Kaloyan Kardzhinov (Lokomotiv Sofia), Zdravko Lazarov (Erciyesspor).

Strikers: Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham Hotspur), Svetoslav Todorov (Wigan Athletic), Valeri Bozhinov (Juventus), Hristo Yovov (Levski Sofia).