Injured Berbatov to miss Bulgaria qualifiers

SOFIA - Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov will miss Bulgaria's 2010 World Cup qualifiers away to Ireland on March 28 and at home against Cyprus four days later due to an ankle injury. The 28-year-old Bulgaria captain, who boasts a remarkable scoring ratio with 41 goals in 67 full internationals, suffered the injury during United's 2-0 loss at Fulham in the English Premier League on Saturday. "There's no chance Berbatov of playing against Ireland and Cyprus," Bulgarian national team doctor Mihail Iliev told local state television on Sunday. "I've told to Manchester United's medical staff and they informed me that he'll need to rest in the next two weeks and his foot will be immovable during that period," he added. Berbatov's injury is another blow for Bulgaria coach Stanimir Stoilov who has already lost Manchester City winger Martin Petrov and Leicester City defender Alexandar Tunchev due to injuries. Stoilov is yet to announce Berbatov's replacement. Bulgaria, third in Group Eight with three points from three matches, will be desperate to avoid defeat in Dublin on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of reaching the finals in South Africa. Italy top the standings with 10 points from four games, followed by Ireland who trail only on goal difference.