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Hapoel Tel-Aviv 1, AC Milan 0

March 15, 2002

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Hapoel Tel-Aviv upset AC Milan 1-0 Thursday night in their first-leg quarterfinal of the UEFA Cup as Sergei Clescenko scored in the 32nd minute.

The game was switched to the Cypriot capital, a neutral venue chosen by Hapoel, by the Union of European Football Associations, which was concerned about safety in Israel.

About 3,000 fans banged drums and chanted ``Hapoel,″ making it seem almost like a home game for the Tel-Aviv club, which defeated Chelsea and Parma in previous rounds.

``It’s the greatest ever victory for Israeli club soccer,″ Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan said. ``This group of players has brought great honor to the people of Israel and a smile to the faces of Israeli public in these times of trouble.″

Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent his congratulations.

``You have proven that by determination, fighting spirit, professional capability and faith, it is possible to defeat any team,″ Sharon said. ``You have brought honor to football and sport in Israel, but above all you have restored joy and pride to the people of Israel. Our thanks to you, to the fans and to all those who contributed to this great victory.″

The second leg of the home-and-home, total-goals series is scheduled for next Thursday at San Siro Stadium in Milan.

In the other quarterfinals, PSV Eindhoven tied Feyenoord of Rotterdam 1-1 in an all-Dutch game, Internazionale of Milan tied Valencia 1-1 and Slovan Liberec played a scoreless tie against Borussia Dortmund.

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