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Hamburg, Shakhtar snatch first-leg advantage

HAMBURG made itself the favorite to reach next month's UEFA Cup final with a 1-0 semifinal win at Werder Bremen, and Shakhtar Donetsk is likely to fill the other spot after a 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kiev on Thursday.

Germany midfielder Piotr Trochowski hit the winner for Hamburg against its German rival in the 28th minute, heading in at the far post from a cross by Guy Demel.

Hamburg needs only to avoid defeat in next week's second leg to qualify for the May 20 final in Istanbul. Shakhtar could make it through with a scoreless draw after securing a 1-1 result through a second-half goal by Fernandinho at Kiev.

Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese, who stopped three penalties when Werder eliminated Hamburg in the semifinals of the German Cup last week, kept his team alive in the two-legged semifinal with several good saves, including one from Ivica Olic early in the game.

The goalkeeper also turned away striker Paolo Guerrero's low shot in the 22nd.

On the other side, Frank Rost was busy in Hamburg's goal early in the match, foiling Diego for what was Bremen's best chance.

But after Bremen's early pressure, Hamburg controlled the game and created several chances.

The one it did convert came when Trochowski headed Demel's cross from the right flank over Wiese's outstretched arms and just inside the far post.

The win put Hamburg close to its first final in a European competition since it won the European Cup, the precursor to the Champions League, in 1983.

Dynamo took the lead against its Ukrainian rival in the 22nd when Shakhtar defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy put Oleksandr Aliyev's powerful free kick into his own net while struggling with striker Artem Milevskiy at the far post.

But neither of the clubs, who have played each other 135 times, dominated the first half.

Dynamo had seven shots but only one was on goal - midfielder Carlos Correa shaved the right post with a powerful drive from outside the box in injury time.

"It was a very tough game," Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said. "Dynamo was better before the interval while we made too many mistakes. But in the second half we were in control of the game."

Still, Milevskiy missed a chance to make it 2-0 when he headed over a curling free kick by Aliyev in the 53rd.

Fernandinho leveled 15 minutes later. Jadson broke down the right flank and passed to Willian, who moved ahead and crossed into the box for the Brazilian player to put it in.

Dynamo hasn't lost to Shakhtar at Valery Lobanovsky Stadium since July 2004, but needs a victory or a high-scoring draw in Donetsk to get through.


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