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Shakhtar and Bremen reach UEFA Cup final

WERDER Bremen and Shakhtar Donetsk both reached their first UEFA Cup final with narrow victories yesterday.

Werder rallied to beat Hamburger SV 3-2 in the second leg of their all-German final yesterday and went through on the away goals rule, with the aggregate score 3-3 after Hamburg's 1-0 win in Bremen one week ago.

Shakhtar edged Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in the second leg of their all-Ukrainian matchup to advance 3-2 on aggregate. Brazilian midfielder Ilsinho scored the winner late in the game.

The final is May 20 in Istanbul, Turkey and both Werder and Shakhtar made the title game for the first time.

In a fast-paced game in Hamburg, Ivica Olic scored for the home team in the 13th minute, but Diego tied the game in the 29th after a neat 1-2 move with Claudio Pizarro.

Pizarro scored in the 66th for a 2-1 Werder lead with a superb shot form 25 meters (yards) and Frank Baumann made it 3-1 in the 83rd with a header from close range, before Olic scored his second in the 87th to send the game into a thrilling finish.

"We kept faith until the end and fought until the final whistle," Pizarro said.

Werder held off Hamburg's desperate late attempts to make its second final of the season. Werder also eliminated Hamburg in the semifinals of the German Cup. If Bremen again beats Hamburg on Sunday in the Bundesliga, in what will be their fourth match inside 19 days, Hamburg is likely to be out of the race for the championship.

"I think I have to congratulate both teams for a very good game," Werder coach Thomas Schaaf said. "But I think my team deserved to advance, we were able to come back, we had confidence and we pushed forward."

In the final, Werder will be without playmaker Diego and striker Hugo Almeida, who both picked up yellow cards that rule them out.

"We kept faith until the end and fought until the final whistle," Pizarro said.

Hamburg's first-year coach Martin Jol said the luckier team advanced.

"We should have gotten some calls," Jol said.

Olic had a strike denied in the second half when he was called for a foul, although television replays seemed to indicate that he had been fouled instead.

Pizarro also had a strike denied for offside.

In Donetsk, Brazilian midfielder Ilsinho scored the winner with one minute left in regulation. He collected a long ball on the right, cut inside the box while faking two Dynamo players, Badr El Kaddouri and Ayila Yussuf, and shot the ball inside the far post.

Shakhtar took the lead on Jadson's shot from 13 meters (yards) in the 17th minute after defender Betao failed to control Darijo Srna's cross into the box from the right.

Guinean striker Ismael Bangoura equalized two minutes into the second half, breaking through two defenders to shoot into the lower left corner.

"It was a real and tough cup match of the highest level," Shakhtar's Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu said. "There was enough show and real struggle in the match from the players on both sides."

Lucescu said he had considered substituting a tired Isinho, but that he "had a premonition" the Brazilian would decide the match and left him on the field.

Dynamo staged dangerous counterattacks and had Ognjen Vukojevic's strike from Oleksandr Aliyev's free kick disallowed for offside in the 40th.

"Two equal teams played in the match," Dynamo coach Yuri Syomin said. "Our counterattacks looked good, but unfortunately we failed to capitalize."

Diego, who also hit the crossbar in the first half, declined to discuss his reported move to Juventus. The two teams are in talks about a transfer and Bremen's sporting director Klaus Allofs said Werder would not stand in Diego's way, but that no deal has been reached yet.

Diego tangled with Brazilian countryman Alex Silva, the Hamburg defender, and got an avoidable yellow card that rules him out of the final. Silva was also booked.

The two Brazilians were still exchanging heated words at halftime and several players from both teams separated them.

"I am very sad for that, we have a great team and we can be champions without me," said Diego, adding that he didn't deserve to get booked. "We were the better team today."


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