Uefa give game green light
By Nadia Carminati
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The news that Lilian Thuram had fallen victim to the 'flu bug overnight has been followed by the claim that Ciro Ferrara, David Trezeguet, Cristian Zenoni and Salvatore Fresi are also suffering from the fever.
Doctors from both United and Uefa have verified that the players are genuinely carrying the illness, and the Serie A club decided to contact Uefa in an effort to have the game cancelled.
Juve requested that the eagerly-anticipated Group D encounter is called off due to "unforeseen circumstances" and a case of "force majeure", but chief executive Gerhard Aigner has failed to agree to their wishes.
The official verdict from Uefa will be a blow to Juve, who have lost a number of key players due to the influenza epidemic, particularly as the initial noises coming from the authorities appeared to suggest they would accept the proposal to cancel the tie.
Consequently, the Old Trafford encounter will take place as planned with all eyes on David Beckham after his dressing room spat with Sir Alex Ferguson on Saturday.
Juventus have called up youngsters Daniele Gastaldello, Matteo Paro and Ruben Olivera in a bid to address the situation, and Marcello Lippi will have a lot of selection posers to consider with the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluigi Buffon, Marcelo Salas and Marco Di Vaio already missing.
The latest bulletin from the Juve camp has indicated that Alessio Tacchinardi is another doubt after also feeling under the weather.
Luciano Moggi, the club's general manager, has claimed that there was not an official request made to Uefa, even though it is understood Juve did contact the authorities to try and resolve the problem.
"We'll respect Uefa rules," he stated. "Evidently, they consider the situation is right.
"It's sure our condition won't be great, but we'll still play to win."