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ZAGREB (Reuters) - Nine Dinamo Zagreb players have contracted the novel coronavirus ahead of their home Europa League clash with Austrian side Wolfsberger AC on Thursday, the Croatian club's representatives said.
"We conducted an official test (on Tuesday) and in addition to four players who had earlier contracted the COVID-19 virus, another five tested positive," the club's press officer Alen Lesicki told Wednesday's news conference.
"Some coaching staff members also tested positive, including manager Zoran Mamic. We cannot release the players' names because we don't have their consent to do so and they are entitled to withhold that information under the privacy act.
"We have plenty of academy players available and eligible to play on Thursday so the match with Wolfsberger will go ahead."
Croatian champions Dinamo are third in Europa League Group K with two points from as many games, behind second-placed CSKA Moscow on goals scored and two adrift of leaders Wolfsberger. Fourth-placed Feyenoord have one point.
Croatia, which has 56,567 registered cases and 654 deaths related to COVID-19, has suffered an upsurge in the figures in recent weeks.
Lesicki also read out a written statement by Mamic asking the players who will face Wolfsberger to go the extra mile in a bid to stay on course for a knockout stage berth in Europe's second-tier competition.
"I have full confidence in my assistants and I am confident we can get a result. I have asked our captain Arijan Ademi to galvanise the players in the dressing room to perform to the best of their ability."
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)