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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Wed Apr 07 06:45:05 GMT+00:00 1999
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
2. I may not hold out, says Zidane
4. Official - very latest  Alex + more
8. Ferguson's men to put the emphasis on attack  
10. Arsenal FT Result
12. Becks Wedding


Daily RED Trivia  Wed 7th April 1999:

Danny Ferguson made his debut against Burnley. Ferguson was a whole-hearted
Forward whose 4 appearances helped United avoid relegation that season. He joined
Reading in May 1928, and later turned out for Chester and Stockport County. 

United clinch their fourth League title after beating Blackpool 2-1 at Old
Trafford watched by 62,277. Johnny Berry and Tommy Taylor scored (Taylor's
25th League goal of the season). Team was: Wood, Greaves, Bryne, Colman,
Jones, Edwards, Berry, Doherty, Taylor, Viollet, Pegg.  


Barry Daily Comment:

Simplenet match preview incl PICS from OT yesterday available from 8am GMT:

This is it ONE OF THE BIGGEST DAYS of the season.
We now need to do the Itaalian job twice to get to the European Cup Final in May!
Juve here we come Zidane plays so does Jaap Stam & Ryan Giggs!
Good luck to all REDS!

Previous News:
 Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio
Peter Schmeichel's last Season at United!

Next games: 
ALL Result/Fixture Index:3

Next Games:
TODAY! European Cup Semi Juventus (H)  19.45 CL 
11 FAC Semi Arsenal at Villa Park  12.30 UK Live Sky Sports Uk
17 Sheff Wed (H) 15.00 PL
21 European Cup Semi Juventus (A) 19.45 CL
25 Leeds (A)  11.30 {am} UK PL Live Sky Sports UK 

UNITED Stats v All teams:


       Coventry City   1-0   Southampton           21,402
             Everton   1-2   Sheffield Wednesday   35,270
       Middlesbrough   3-1   Wimbledon             33,999
    Newcastle United   1-1   Tottenham Hotspur     36,655
   Nottingham Forest   2-2   Liverpool             28,374
     West Ham United   0-1   Charlton Athletic     26,041

             Arsenal   1-0   Blackburn

*** FULL LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 05/04/99 ***

Pos Team                  P  W  D  L   F   A   W  D  L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Manchester United    31 11  4  1  38  16   7  6  2  31  16   37   64
 2  Arsenal              32 11  5  0  27   4   6  7  3  16   9   29   63
 3  Chelsea              30  9  5  1  21   9   7  6  2  24  14   22   59
 4  Leeds United         31 11  3  2  30   8   5  6  4  22  20   24   57
 5  West Ham United      32  9  3  4  22  20   4  5  7  12  20   -6   47
 6  Aston Villa          31  8  3  5  25  24   4  6  5  14  13    2   45
 7  Derby County         31  7  5  4  21  19   4  6  5  14  17   -1   44
 8  Liverpool            30  8  4  2  36  18   4  3  9  21  23   16   43
 9  Middlesbrough        31  6  8  1  22  11   4  5  7  20  30    1   43
10  Newcastle United     32  7  4  5  23  20   4  5  7  20  25   -2   42
11  Wimbledon            32  7  6  3  20  16   3  5  8  16  32  -12   41
12  Tottenham Hotspur    31  7  6  3  24  19   2  7  6  11  18   -2   40
13  Sheffield Wednesday  32  6  3  7  18  14   5  2  9  20  22    2   38
14  Leicester City       29  5  4  5  19  21   4  6  5  11  16   -7   37
15  Coventry City        32  7  5  4  21  16   3  2 11  13  27   -9   37
16  Charlton Athletic    31  4  5  6  18  14   3  5  8  16  27   -7   31
17  Blackburn Rovers     31  6  4  6  19  19   1  6  8  13  23  -10   31
18  Everton              32  3  8  5  10  11   4  2 10  16  29  -14   31
19  Southampton          32  7  3  6  22  22   1  3 12   6  35  -29   30
20  Nottingham Forest    32  1  7  8  15  30   3  2 11  15  34  -34   21


Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/08/98    Leicester City           Home     D  2-2    11    55,052
22/08/98    West Ham United          Away     D  0-0    11    26,039
09/09/98    Charlton Athletic        Home     W  4-1     9    55,147
12/09/98    Coventry City            Home     W  2-0     5    55,193
20/09/98    Arsenal                  Away     L  0-3    10    38,142
24/09/98    Liverpool                Home     W  2-0     3    55,181
03/10/98    Southampton              Away     W  3-0     2    15,251
17/10/98    Wimbledon                Home     W  5-1     2    55,265
24/10/98    Derby County             Away     D  1-1     2    30,867
31/10/98    Everton                  Away     W  4-1     2    40,079
08/11/98    Newcastle United         Home     D  0-0     3    55,174
14/11/98    Blackburn Rovers         Home     W  3-2     2    55,198
21/11/98    Sheffield Wednesday      Away     L  1-3     2    39,475
29/11/98    Leeds United             Home     W  3-2     2    55,172
05/12/98    Aston Villa              Away     D  1-1     2    39,241
12/12/98    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     D  2-2     1    36,079
16/12/98    Chelsea                  Home     D  1-1     2    55,159
19/12/98    Middlesbrough            Home     L  2-3     3    55,152
26/12/98    Nottingham Forest        Home     W  3-0     3    55,216
29/12/98    Chelsea                  Away     D  0-0     3    34,741
10/01/99    West Ham United          Home     W  4-1     3    55,180
16/01/99    Leicester City           Away     W  6-2     2    22,091
31/01/99    Charlton Athletic        Away     W  1-0     1    20,043
03/02/99    Derby County             Home     W  1-0     1    55,174
06/02/99    Nottingham Forest        Away     W  8-1     1    30,025
17/02/99    Arsenal                  Home     D  1-1     1    55,171
20/02/99    Coventry City            Away     W  1-0     1    22,596
27/02/99    Southampton              Home     W  2-1     1    55,316
13/03/99    Newcastle United         Away     W  2-1     1    36,500
21/03/99    Everton                  Home     W  3-1     1    55,182
03/04/99    Wimbledon                Away     D  1-1     1    26,121


       P   Won       Drawn     Lost      For        Against    Points
Home   16  11 (69%)  4 (25%)   1 (6%)    38 (2.4)   16 (1.0)   37 (2.3)
Away   14  7 (50%)   5 (36%)   2 (14%)   30 (2.1)   15 (1.1)   26 (1.9)

Total  30  18 (60%)  9 (30%)   3 (10%)   68 (2.3)   31 (1.0)   63 (2.1)

                                         Averages per game in (brackets)


HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 27/02/99 - Southampton (55,316)
LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE:  15/08/98 - Leicester City (55,052)
BEST WIN:                06/02/99 - Nottingham Forest (8-1)
HEAVIEST DEFEAT:         20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3)
BEST HOME WIN:           17/10/98 - Wimbledon (5-1)
HEAVIEST HOME DEFEAT:    19/12/98 - Middlesbrough (2-3)
BEST AWAY WIN:           06/02/99 - Nottingham Forest (8-1)
HEAVIEST AWAY DEFEAT:    20/09/98 - Arsenal (0-3)

Champions League:
Group D         P  W  D  L  F  A   Pts
Bayern Munich   6  3  2  1  9  6  11   
Man United      6  2  4  0 20 11  10
Barcelona       6  2  2  2 11  9   8    
Brondby         6  1  0  5  4 18   3   

Dec  9 Brøndby         0-2  Barcelona
Dec  9 Man Utd         1-1  Bayern Munich


 Manchester Utd  2 v 0  Inter Milan
 Real Madrid     1 v 1  Dynamo Kiev
 Juventus        2 v 1  Olympiakos
 Bayern Munich   2 v 0  Kaiserslautern

**DYNAMO KIEV      2 v 0  REAL MADRID         (Agg:3-1)
OLYMPIAKOS         1 v 1  **JUVENTUS          (Agg:2-3)

Semi Final 
to be played today + 21st April
Manchester United v Juventus  [OT today]
Bayern Munchen v Dynamo Kiev 


More pics from OT + preview click on Alex

Subject: UNITED v JUVENTUS - THE FORM United have never beaten Juve over two legs and they have recorded just two wins - both at Old Trafford - in their eight meetings. Here's the full record: UEFA Cup Second Round, 1976-77 1st leg, 20 October 1976: United 1 Juventus 0 Gordon Hill scored the only goal at Old Trafford against the Italians, who had accounted for Manchester City in the first round. 2nd leg, 3 November 1976: Juventus 3 United 0 United, who were without key defender Martin Buchan, were blown away in Turin as Roberto Boninsegna netted in each half before Romeo Benetti scored to complete a 3-1 aggregate victory. Cup Winners' Cup Semi-Finals, 1983-84 1st leg, 11 April 1984: United 1 Juventus 1 United were without inspirational skipper Bryan Robson for the Old Trafford tie as Paolo Rossi scored for Juve and Alan Davies for the Reds. 2nd leg, 25 April 1984: Juventus 2 United 1 Robson was also absent for the return and the Turin outfit went ahead through Zbigniew Boniek. Norman Whiteside equalised with United's first European goal in Italy and the tie appeared to be heading for extra time until Rossi grabbed the winner. Champions League, Group C, 1996-97 11 September 1996: Juventus 1 United 0 European champions Juventus outclassed their English guests at the Stadio delle Alpi and should have won by more than Alen Boksic's strike on 34 minutes. 20 November 1996: United 0 Juventus 1 Ferguson's team had clearly learned from their lesson in Turin and ran Juve close, only for the Italians to score the only goal of the game through Alessandro del Piero. Champions League, Group B, 1997-98 1 October 1997: United 3 Juventus 2 The Red Devils bounced back from a Del Piero goal in the first minute to produce one of Old Trafford's most glorious European nights. Teddy Sheringham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs scored before Zinedine Zidane pulled one back in the final minute. 10 December 1997: Juventus 1 United 0 With a quarter-final place already in the bag as group winners, United eased up against Juventus, who scored through Filippo Inzaghi, six minutes from time, to sneak through to the last eight.
More pics from OT + preview click on Alex

Subject: I may not hold out, says Zidane By Graham Hunter Wednesday, April 7, 1999 Zinedine Zidane, the world's best player, yesterday admitted he is nowhere near peak condition to face Manchester United in tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg at Old Trafford. Just as United boss Alex Ferguson revealed that they were working up to the last minute to ensure that key player Ryan Giggs is 100 per cent ready after recovering from a hamstring injury, Juventus and France playmaker Zidane confessed that he has no idea how long he can last in the match. Both players are expected to start but Zidane's right knee was heavily strapped in training last night as he clearly struggled and Jesper Blomqvist is standing by in case of a late scare over Giggs. Zidane's struggles were welcome news to United, who benefited in the quarter-final from the furore over whether Ronaldo, Zidane's predecessor as the world's best player, was fit and should play. The French World Cup winner and reigning FIFA world player of the year, said: 'I will play but I still have a problem of feeling pain every time I strike the ball hard, especially in my right instep. 'It does hurt when I hit the ball but this is a European semi-final so you must grit your teeth and go through the pain barrier. 'Also, having been out of the game for three weeks, it will be very difficult to get used to the rhythm of play, particularly in a match like this one. 'How long will I last? I just don't know. Certainly, I want to play the whole game but I don't know if I will and the important thing for me and the team was that I should be able to start.' Ferguson will not be lulled into any false sense of security and, on Giggs, he said: 'We have worked very hard on Giggs' fitness in the last few days and trained him very hard. 'There was no point in risking him at any time in Saturday's match at Wimbledon.' United will attempt to play the game at increased pace to pose extra questions over Zidane's fitness but Juventus coach Carlo Ancelotti said: 'I am confident that we can play at a higher tempo than Manchester United and control that aspect of the game. 'United's matches against Inter showed that you can cause them trouble in defence.' Juventus are on an astonishing £5million bonus to win the Champions League - over double the money being offered to Ferguson's players. The golden carrot breaks down to more than £200,000 each for their huge 22-man pool. United, meanwhile, will pay out around £75,000 per man, though their players will receive at least another £50,000 each if they can complete the unprecedented treble of Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup triumphs.
More pics from OT + preview click on Alex

Subject: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PREVIEW 'We've Closed The Gap On Juventus' Says Ferguson, Plus: Italians Fear Wide Boys, The Key Battles MANCHESTER UNITED v JUVENTUS Alex Ferguson believes Juventus' loss of coach Marcello Lippi and star striker Alessandro del Piero can help United to Champions League glory. Ferguson is confident his team is good enough to beat the Italian giants over two legs and claim a place in the final for the first time in 31 years. The Red Devils have gradually closed the gap on Juventus since the first of their four Champions League meetings in September 1996 and now Fergie believes the resignation of Lippi and the absence of the injured Del Piero has finally swung the pendulum Manchester's way. New coach Carlo Ancelotti has partly revived the 'Old Lady' of Italian soccer, but Ferguson could not hide his relief that his old friend and rival Lippi has gone. He feels the loss of Lippi and Del Piero are a tremendous boost for United going into tonight's semi-final first leg at Old Trafford. ''Ancelotti has brought a fresh approach and just the freshness of a new coach has stabilised them after some bad results,'' said Ferguson. ''But Lippi's experience is something which I'm glad I don't have to face. Del Piero is certainly a big loss to them, no question about it. We know that and they know that. You can't ignore or dismiss that and I think he is a fantastic player.'' Juventus are clearly not the force they were and have had a dismal season by their own high standards. By comparison, United could hardly be in better shape. Ryan Giggs is fit and ready to be unleashed down the left wing following his hamstring problem, while central defender Jaap Stam has recovered from his ankle injury to give Ferguson a full squad to choose from. The Scot's treble-chasers are scoring regularly and are unbeaten in three-and-a-half months. They laid their Italian bogey to rest when they beat Inter Milan in the previous round and Ferguson admitted: "We've got a fabulous chance. We're going into this game with the knowledge gained from playing Juventus four times before. We feel we have improved as a team and we're ready for a game of this stature. There is a great team spirit among the players which is fantastic. We're still undefeated in the competition and we hope we will still be saying that at the end of the year. Our team is certainly good enough and we've proved our quality. Now we've just got to take that step in a big game where we don't want to disappoint and I don't think we will.'' Juventus, finalists for the last three years, have been knocked down on a couple of occasions this season in the Champions League, but never knocked out. They stumbled through the group stages, winning just one game, before they squeezed past Olympiakos in the quarter-finals with a late winner in the second leg. Ferguson feels their unrivalled Champions League experience has got them this far, but doesn't think they can rely on it forever. ''I don't think you can underestimate the value of experience,'' he said. ''That experience creates its own pride in that they don't want to lose. I think that's the way they start by making sure they don't lose a game and the rest is a bonus. That experience helps them to keep their heads when they are down, but sometime it will run out and even experience won't get you back.'' Ferguson was careful not to say anything derogatory about Juventus or Italian football following his UEFA fine over some of his remarks before the Inter games. He fielded one such question from an Italian journalist with the reply: ''I don't want to say anything unless you pay my next fine.'' However, if everything goes to plan it will be Juventus paying the price. United might have only drawn at Wimbledon at the weekend, but that was a great result compared to Juve's. The Serie A champions continued their dismal defence of their crown with a 1-0 defeat at rock-bottom Empoli. "We must have had our heads in Manchester," Ancellotti said after the morale-deflating defeat. Juventus were without Zinedine Zidane for that match, though, and the inspirational Frenchman is expected to play tonight. The 1996 European champions should field their regular starting lineup with Italy's Fillippo Inzaghi leading the attack, alongside either Daniel Fonseca, Nicola Amoruso or Juan Esnaider. ITALIANS FEAR THE WIDE BOYS Juventus believe Ryan Giggs and David Beckham pose the biggest threat to them at Old Trafford. The Italians have studied United and they know they must stop Giggs and Beckham. The latter almost destroyed Inter Milan single-handed with his crosses from the right and he set up both goals for Dwight Yorke in the 2-0 quarter-final first leg victory. Gianluca Pessotto and Angelo di Livio are expected to be handed the job of shackling Beckham and Juventus know it will not be easy. Midfielder Antonio Conte said: ''The main danger from Manchester United comes from out wide. They are very good on the wings with Beckham and Giggs and it is a tactic that they use quite a lot.'' Coach Carlo Ancelotti added: ''They are particularly good on the right side, but they can also attack from other positions. They have lots of influential players and they are one of the strongest teams around at the moment. I think Manchester United will start as favourites, but that does not bother us.'' Juventus, who are bidding to become the first team since Real Madrid 40 years ago to reach a fourth successive final, intend to cause a few problems of their own for United. World Footballer of the Year Zinedine Zidane has recovered from his knee injury, while influential defender Paolo Montero has shrugged off his hamstring complaint. The Frenchman holds the key for Juve in the absence of the injured Alessandro del Piero and coach Ancelotti admitted as much when he said: ''He has trained and he looks very good. He will play as he has always played and his presence is very, very important for us. We are very positive about this match and we want nothing less than victory.'' Ancelotti adroitly sidestepped being drawn into the row over United boss Alex Ferguson's anti-Italian comments before the two Inter games. Fergie earned himself a £2000 fine from UEFA for accusing them of diving and trying to con the referee and he said if an Italian claimed it was pasta he would check under the sauce before believing him. But when asked for his thoughts on Ferguson's remarks, the cool Ancelotti replied: ''Italian people like spaghetti very much.'' Juventus (probable): Peruzzi, Mirkovic, Ferrara, Montero, Pessotto, Conte, Deschamps, Davids, Di Livio, Zidane, Inzaghi. UNITED OLD BOY: 'WINGERS ARE THE KEY' Manchester United can wing their way to Champions League glory against Juventus, according to former stalwart Arthur Albiston. Albiston believes United's route to success lies down the flanks, just as it did against Inter Milan in the previous round. The former Scottish international, who played for the Red Devils against Juventus in the UEFA Cup in 1976 and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1984, believes Italian sides struggle against wingers. That proved to be Inter's Achilles heel in the quarter-final first leg at Old Trafford when David Beckham set up Dwight Yorke for two headers in United's 2-0 victory. And Albiston feels Beckham and Ryan Giggs can provide the platform for victory over Juve. ''Getting crosses into the box is a great British trait and there are few better people at doing that than Beckham and Giggs,'' he said. ''We saw that against Inter, where Beckham destroyed them down the right and that can work again against Juventus. Because of the Italian style of football they are not used to dealing with a lot of crosses into the middle. A lot of their play tends to come through the middle and their full-backs could struggle against the quality of Beckham and Giggs.'' Whatever happens, Albiston believes it is essential that United keep a clean sheet and he would not be unduly worried if the game finished goalless, because he is confident his former club can score in Turin. ''I think that is the one thing United have learned from their past campaigns, the need to score goals away from home,'' he said. ''We saw how they went out against Monaco and Borussia Dortmund because they could not score and this season they have been pushing the boat out much further. They have proved that they are capable of going away from home and scoring and even if they do not score at Old Trafford I would still fancy their chances of going to Italy and scoring. ''Of course what United must do first is keep a clean sheet at home and I'm sure Alex Ferguson would be delighted with a 1-0 win.'' Albiston believes it would be foolhardy to write Juventus off because of their indifferent form and the loss of Alessandro del Piero through injury. He said: "They've been in the last three finals, so they know what this competition is all about. They have been in this position many times before and they know exactly what's required.'' UNITED v JUVENTUS - THE KEY BATTLES Arthur Albiston analyses three key head-to-head battles in tonight's game... Roy Keane v Zinedine Zidane ''Zidane has just returned from injury, so it will be interesting to see if he's fully recovered. He is world class and we saw how good he is on Juventus' last two visits to Old Trafford. It's vital that he is not allowed to run the game from midfield and he will know he has been in a match after 90 minutes with Keane.'' Jaap Stam v Filippo Inzaghi ''Inzaghi blows hot and cold. I think he's too inconsistent. He's obviously one to be watched and he is an Italian international. There is a lot of pressure on his shoulders because of the absence of Del Piero and I fancy Stam against him because he has proved this season what a great defender he is.'' David Beckham v Angelo di Livio ''Juve have been playing Di Livio at left-back and if that is the case they will need his experience against Beckham. David will be a key player for United and if he can get crosses into the box like he did against Inter, that will be food and drink for Yorke and Cole. I'm not sure if Juventus will be able to handle that and if Beckham can provide the right service, United will score.''
More pics from OT + preview click on Alex

Subject: Official - very latest Alex + more LATEST NEWS OT direct --------------------------------------------------------------- 06-APR-1999 [17:08] http://www.manutd.com/news/feature.sps?from=latest&id=576032 REDS IN TIP-TOP CONDITION Tuesday, April 06, 1999 17:08 Alex Ferguson will approach the home dressing room on Wednesday evening, knowing he can choose any member of his Manchester United squad. Every one of the twenty-six players on his Champions League list is fit for the semi-final. This is in stark contrast to some of the big European games of recent years. Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel all missed last season's quarter-final defeat by Monaco, and the same trio missed either the first or second leg of the 1997 semi-final against Borussia Dortmund. "It's an unusual situation for us," said a smiling Fergie at the pre-match press conference. "At this time of year you expect at least one or two players to be carrying knocks, but fortunately for us on this occasion, we’ve got everyone fit. It's quite amazing and we're very pleased about it." One journalist suggested the clean bill of health is a direct result of Fergie's squad games, and his determination to rotate and rest players at different times during the season. "No, it’s luck," quipped Fergie. And you have to agree. Jaap Stam was injured only last week, in training with Holland, but as luck would have it, it was only a twisted ankle and he's now available for selection. Selecting the team is probably Fergie's only problem in the build-up, and he naturally offered few clues to the assembled media from England and Italy. His assertion that "the priority is always to score goals" would suggest a place for Paul Scholes in midfield, but there was equally a case for the more defensive Ronny Johnsen or Phil Neville when he said: "There are tactics involved." If Scholes, Johnsen, Neville and Nicky Butt are the only players still competing for a place, there's no time left to sway the manager's mind. Fergie revealed that he'd already picked his team, saying: "Juventus will be wondering what I’m going to do with my team. I’ve given it a lot of thought and hopefully I’ve got it right." Turning his attention to the opposition, the United boss claimed he could name ten of Juve's starting eleven. One player who's certain not to play is Alessandro Del Piero and that, said Fergie, could be significant. "Del Piero’s a big loss to them, there’s no question. We know that, they know that. It’s something you can’t ignore, especially when he’s a fantastic player." Some observers have written off Juve's chances, citing their poor form in Serie A. After all, they lost 1-0 to relegation favourites Empoli on Saturday. But Fergie is not convinced, despite the visual evidence. "There’s a lot you can dismiss and a lot you can listen to," said the Boss. "I haven’t seen them myself personally but we’ve had them watched and I’ve seen the videos." "What you can't underestimate is the value of experience, and Juventus are carrying some tremendous experience into this game. It’s the semi-finals of the European Cup, and they’ve been in the last three finals." The Manchester United manager just hopes his team are now experienced enough themselves. "We feel that as a team we’re ready for a game of this stature now," he said. "Some of our players have played more than twenty Champions League matches over the last three years, and they’ve played in quarter-finals and semi-finals." "This year, we’ve come through arguably the hardest group and one of the harder quarter-final ties. We’ve had a tremendous run, we’re still undefeated and I hope I can say that at the end of the season." So do we, Alex. So do we. ------------------------------------------------------------ 06-APR-1999 [15:30] DISCIPLINE THREAT TO DAVIDS Tuesday, April 06, 1999 15:30 Indiscipline could yet ruin Juve's bid to regain the Champions League crown. All things being equal, the 1996 Champions of Europe will have a tough enough task beating Manchester United over two legs. But life will be even more difficult if players like Edgar Davids lose their cool and fall foul of the rules. Dutchman Davids was booked in the last European match against Olympiakos, and will miss the second leg of the semi-final if he receives the yellow card again at Old Trafford. In fact, Juve could have a real problem in midfield in Turin if Wednesday night's game is littered with cards. Angelo Di Livio, Antonio Conte and Didier Deschamps are also one caution away from a one-match ban. The Italians' list of shame is completed by playmaker Zinedine Zidane, goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi, and defenders Zoran Mirkovic and Paolo Montero, although the latter could miss the tie through injury. All were booked in the quarter-finals and none can afford to have their name taken in Manchester. United, meanwhile, will hope that Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen, Roy Keane, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes are not on first name terms with the referee by the time he blows his final whistle. The chosen man in the middle is Manuel Diaz Vega from Oviedo in Spain. He's refereed United twice before, in the away win over Fenerbahce in the 1996-97 Champions League, and the goalless draw at Monaco in last season's quarter-final.
More pics from OT + preview click on Alex

Subject: ZZ IS TOPS Tuesday, April 06, 1999 18:29 They were the words every United fan did not want to hear. "Zidane is fit and looking good." Thus spoke Juventus manager Carlo Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference. The UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg is only hours away now, and there had been talk that the French World Cup winner would not be fit to face the Reds. But Ancelotti quickly put paid to that talk. "I watched him train yesterday and he looked good. He is very important to the team," said Ancelotti. He went on to praise United, before going on to say they are the team he wanted to face in the semis. "They are a good team," he said. "They have good attacking qualities and are well organised. They're one of the best teams around at the moment." "If I could have chosen an opponent, it would have been Manchester. They are a similar team to us and it should be an exciting game. Their strength is in their squad of good players." Inter Milan had been wary of the threat Ryan Giggs posed to their ambitions. But Juve have another player who deserves special treatment. "Roy Keane is the heart of their team. He has given balance to the side. He is a very strong player, and United's most important player," admitted the manager. And in a chilling closing shot to United, he explained what he expected from the tie. Just one word. "Victory". We'll see, Carlo, we'll see.
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Subject: UNITED IN TOP SHAPE By David Anderson, PA Sport Manchester United skipper Roy Keane claims confidence among the players is sky high ahead of tomorrow's Champions' League duel with Juventus. United are in excellent shape going into the semi-final first leg against the Italian giants at Old Trafford. Alex Ferguson's treble-chasers remain top of the Premiership, have topped 100 goals for the season and have not lost for three-and-a-half months. Add Jaap Stam's return from his ankle injury and Ryan Giggs' recovery from his hamstring problem, and things could hardly be better. United have already put Inter Milan to the sword in the quarter-finals and now they believe they can account for another Italian team in the semis. "The feeling among the players is great and the confidence is sky high," said Keane. "We've been on a great run since Christmas and we haven't lost a game this year. "We were a bit disappointed to draw 1-1 with Wimbledon on Saturday, but you can't have everything your own way. "We'll prepare for this game slightly differently than we did for Wimbledon but we will treat Juventus with total respect as we did for Wimbledon. "Make no mistake the boys will definitely be up for this one. "It should definitely be a night to remember, and European nights at Old Trafford are brilliant. "The fans were brilliant for Inter Milan, and I'm sure the atmosphere will be the same, if not better this time." Keane missed last season's two clashes with Juventus, including United's epic 3-2 victory at Old Trafford, because of his cruciate ligament injury. He was disappointed to miss those and is keyed up for their semi-final. "The 3-2 last season was the Wednesday after I snapped my cruciate ligaments against Leeds so I missed the two games," he said. "I'm really looking forward to the challenge of playing against Juventus this time." Juventus, who have appeared in the last three Champions' League finals, are not the force they were when United played them in 1996 and 1997. They are well off the pace in the Serie A title race and have scraped their way through to the Champions' League semi-finals with two wins from their eight games. However, like United, they are unbeaten in this season's competition, and Keane is not writing them off. "Compared to their own high standards, they have had a disappointing season," he said. "But they've made it to the semi-finals of the European Cup, and we must respect them for that."
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Subject: PERRY HAILS STAM By Mark Bradley, PA Sport Chief Soccer Writer Jaap Stam was hailed as the best defender in the Premiership as Wimbledon centre-back Chris Perry declared that the Dutchman's return would prove crucial in Manchester United's imminent encounter with Juventus. Stam, who was absent with an ankle injury in the Premiership leaders' 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park, was sorely missed as United struggled at the back in the opening 25 minutes and conceded an early goal. They may have equalised just before half-time through David Beckham and indeed almost pummelled the Dons into submission during a second-half onslaught. But with Wimbledon producing an impressive rearguard performance and United's strike force failing to take advantage of a host of chances, it was their early defensive inadequacies which led to loss of two points in the title race as Chelsea closed the gap. It was hard to imagine United being so slipshod early on if Stam, who had turned his ankle during a training session with the Dutch squad last week, had not been rested ahead of the Champions' League semi-final first leg. For although the Dutch international was heavily criticised immediately after his £10.75million signing last summer, he has since become a commanding presence at the heart of the United back four. Although Perry, who himself showed class worthy of an England call-up at Selhurst Park, firmly believes United are the best side in Europe, he knows that Stam's presence on Wednesday will be vital - given the need for a clean sheet. Perry declared: "I think they are the best team in Europe and I fancy them to beat anyone over two legs. "At Old Trafford, I can see them scoring a couple and not conceding many. But I think they missed Stam against us as he makes a big difference for them. "He's a superb defender. I can't honestly say how much I admire Alex Ferguson for actually signing him. "When he came over here, a lot of people wrote him off because Nicolas Anelka got in behind him a couple of times (in the Charity Shield) but then Anelka's shown what a class player he is. "Stam's just got a presence. He stands there and he's very difficult to pass. He's got good distribution and his defending is excellent. "I think he's one of the best defenders in the Premiership, if not probably the best. He's certainly up there alongside Sol Campbell." Perry added: "It's difficult when you come from a different country to settle into the style and the pace of English football. "It's a lot quicker than anywhere else in Europe and he's taken his time to settle in but he's done really well." In Stam's absence, Wimbledon took the lead at Selhurst Park within just five minutes as Jason Euell took advantage of a weak back header by Gary Neville to round the exposed Peter Schmeichel. Only Schmeichel's brilliance prevented Euell from scoring a second after Ronny Johnsen was brushed off the ball by John Hartson and then Henning Berg was at fault with a suicidal pass to Denis Irwin which almost let in Marcus Gayle. United poured forward in search of victory, especially in the second-half after Beckham had equalised with a first-time shot from close range after Irwin's cross had bounced into the air off Dean Blackwell's thigh. Indeed, United seem determined to attack the treble in swashbuckling style, with Wimbledon coach David Kemp observing that this sometimes left them vulnerable at the back, with only two defenders left to hold the fort. They may well adopt a more measured approach in Wednesday's game at Old Trafford but boss Ferguson insisted: "In terms of chasing games, we're right to take a risk as you're not going to win if you don't." By then, attention was already focusing on Wednesday night, with the sight of Jesper Blomqvist leaving the pitch with a possible knock tempered by the appearance of Ryan Giggs on the substitutes' bench. Captain Roy Keane said: "We'll do some light training over the next few days and get as much rest as we can. We'll be doing our homework but we know a lot about Juventus anyway."
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Subject: Ferguson's men to put the emphasis on attack By Jeremy Butler MANCHESTER, England, April 6 - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has hinted his team will put the emphasis on attack against Juventus in the European Cup semifinal first leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday. The step is a bold move for Ferguson, who normally regards keeping a clean sheet at home as imperative in two-leg European ties. The United boss said on Tuesday: "The priority is to score goals. We hope we don't lose a goal but we won't change our attacking style." Although demanding goals from his side, Ferguson was quick to point out he has improved enough tactically as a manager to believe United can score and also deny Juventus an important away goal. "Possibly Manchester United in the past never had a reputation of being tactically good on defence and I don't think we were good at that," Ferguson said. "But now we are putting the right players in the right areas we feel to match the (opposition's) best players and hopefully we can do that tomorrow." Ferguson was quick to admire the Italians, adding he felt Carlo Ancelotti had added some stability to the team, but he believes their ability to come good however badly positioned they are in a game cannot always repeat itself. Juventus reached the semifinals only through a late Antonio Conte goal at Olympiakos, and with that in mind Ferguson said: "They have got the experience to keep their heads when they are down. "It's a good thing to have but sometimes it runs out for you and even experience can't get you back." United go into the game parading a fully fit squad, with Dutchman Jaap Stam and Ryan Giggs expected to return to the line-up after recent injuries. Giggs, who scored a stunning goal in the 3-2 victory when the sides met at Old Trafford last season, was on the bench in the 1-1 premier league draw with Wimbledon on Saturday. "He's worked hard in training over the past few days. I felt there was no point risking him on Saturday but he is fit for this game," Ferguson said.
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Subject: UNITED CAN BE EURO KINGS - WILKINS By Neil Silver, PA Sport Ray Wilkins is backing Manchester United to win the Champions' League and go on to create their own European dynasty. Victory over Juventus in the two-legged semi-final, followed by success in the final, can provide the springboard to United dominating the European Championship scene in the new millennium, according to former Old Trafford favourite Wilkins. "I think this is the year United have their best chance of winning the Champions' League," said Wilkins. "They are fit and strong and the experience of losing in the semi-final two years ago has done them the world of good. "Alex Ferguson's rotation system has worked wonders this year and he has a squad packed out with talent. "If they win the European Cup they have a helluva chance of doing it again. They will also get the opportunity of playing in the World Club Championship and the world will be their oyster." Wilkins spent five years at Old Trafford and was in the United side which lost to Juventus in the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1984. He has also been an interested spectator in the past two years when United have reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals of this competition. But the former United skipper, who recently joined the coaching staff at rivals Chelsea, insists the Red Devils can go one better this year. He is a keen student of Italian football following his time at AC Milan as a player, and believes United have what it takes to beat Juve. "I think United can beat Juventus," he said. "They are having a torrid time in league football in Italy just now and they concede goals, which they never used to do. "They have some very talented players but I don't think they are as good as Inter Milan. "Zinedine Zidane beat United on his own a couple of years ago at Old Trafford. He had a wonderful game and that is what you expect from world class footballers. "But this time United have another couple of years experience in the Champions' League. They have been playing some wonderful football in this competition and are top scorers. "They are coming to terms with it much easier and have scored away from home all the time. I can see United scoring wherever they go. "It is not just about Dwight Yorke, it is a collective unit. Look at Jaap Stam, he has been outstanding, and Peter Schmeichel is fantastic. "We talk about the English league being the best in the world but to fulfil this we have to start winning European competitions. "Chelsea managed it last year and hopefully we will do it again, but we want to be prominent in the Champions' League as well."
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Subject: Arsenal FT Result One nil boring Arse did it again! Tues 6/7 FT result Arsenal 1 - 0 Blackburn Bergkamp s/o Keown s/o Gillespie Bergkamp missed penalty 2nd half Both sides playing with 10 men at the end. *** LEAGUE TABLE AS AT 06/04/99 *** Pos Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Manchester United 31 11 4 1 38 16 7 6 2 31 16 37 64 2 Arsenal 32 11 5 0 27 4 6 7 3 16 9 30 63 3 Chelsea 30 9 5 1 21 9 7 6 2 24 14 22 59 4 Leeds United 31 11 3 2 30 8 5 6 4 22 20 24 57 End of season update: MANCHESTER UNITED CHELSEA ARSENAL P31 - 64pts P30 - 59pts P32-63pts April 10 Wimbledon (A) 31 14 Middlesbr (A) 32 17 Sheff Wed (H)32 18 Leicester (H) 33 19 Wimbledon (H) 33 24 SheffielW (A) 34 Middlesbr (A) 34 25 Leeds (A)33 May 1 Aston Villa (H)34 Everton (H) 35 2 Derby C (H) 35 5 Liverpool (A)35 Leeds (H) 36 Tottenham H (A) 36 8 Tottenham (A) 37 Leeds U (A) 37 9 Middlesbr (A)36 12 Blackburn (A)37 16 Tottenham (H)38 Derby (H) 38 Aston Villa (H) 38 Champions?
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Subject: KEANE WARY OF TREBLE TALK AS UNITED PLOT JUVENTUS REVENGE By Iain Spragg ROY KEANE has warned Manchester United fans not to bet on his side clinching an unprecedented European Cup, Premiership and FA Cup treble, but is refusing to completely rule out the Red Devils’ chances of a clean sweep. The Old Trafford skipper knows the size of the challenge in becoming the first English side to win all three competitions in oneseason, but is raring to give it a go regardless. The Republic of Ireland midfielder told Football365: “To talk about winning all three trophies is a bit of an impossible dream. But you should never say never. If I was a betting man I wouldn’t bet on us finishing with all three. You have to go back 19 years to find a side that did that and when Liverpool did the treble they didn’t win the FA Cup.” United’s own treble aspirations will be put to a stern test tonight at Old Trafford in the first leg of their European Cup semi-final against Juventus, followed by their FA Cup semi-final clash with Arsenal on Sunday. And Keane has told his troops to treat this game like a cup final. Juve have beaten Alex Ferguson’s men in three of their last four Champions League meetings and the tough-tackling midfielder is looking for revenge. Keane said: “We don’t look beyond winning the next game and at the moment every game is like a cup final to us because defeat could be the difference between winning and losing something. We’ve won nothing yet. I don’t look too much into what we’ve done so far.” The last time the two teams met was at the Stadio delle Alpi in Turin back in December 1997 when a late Filippo Inzaghi strike gave the Serie A heavyweights a 1-0 win and a place in the last eight of the competition, alongside United. Since then, Keane’s team has gone from strength to strength while Juve, European Cup finalists for three successive seasons, have slumped into domestic obscurity. History, however, is against the Old Trafford outfit. They have never beaten Juventus over two legs and have won just two of the their previous eight clashes with the Italians. Keane is the first to acknowledge the 1996 European Cup champions are still a force to be reckoned with despite their recent mediocre performances – hence his advice to United fans not to line the bookmakers’ pockets. But if the Red Devils do take revenge against their visitors tonight, it might be impossible to stop a few of them having a flutter.
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Subject: Becks Wedding Spice Girls singer Victoria Adams is planning to marry her soccer star fiancé David Beckham in Ireland, according to a UK newspaper. The Sun reports the couple will wed on 4 July at a church near Dublin. A reception for about 500 guests is planned at a nearby castle after the ceremony, according to the report. The couple are reported to have asked guests to wear black and white for the event and have designed their own wedding coat of arms featuring the Premiership trophy. The lavish parchment invitations are reportedly laced with gold leaf and show the crest which includes a swan floating on a gold crown and a red and white shield with the couple's initials above the words Love and Friendship. Guests have reportedly been banned from bringing cameras to the service. It is believed celebrity magazine OK! has paid £1m for exclusive rights to the service. Adams, 24, and Manchester United midfielder Beckham, 23, have a month-old son, Brooklyn George. Her Spice Girls colleague Mel B married dancer Jimmy Gulzar in September near their home in Buckinghamshire. Despite enormous press interest the couple managed to evade fans and media waiting outside.
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