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Dekel Keinan 298.88.(Photo by: AP)
Maccabi Haifa, Kiev draw in tournament opener
The winner of the Channel One Cup will receive $1 million, with the runner-up getting half that amount.
Maccabi Haifa and Dynamo Kiev drew 1-1 in the opening match of the Channel One Cup on Wednesday night at Kiryat Eliezer. Haifa grabbed the lead six minutes after halftime when Lior Rafaelov blasted the ball into the net, with the Ukrainian club equalizing four minutes later after Brazilian Rodrigo turned in Serhiy Rebrov's rebounded shot. The competition, which includes six clubs and will be played over the next eight days, is sponsored by Russian billionaire and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is expected to attend some of the matches. The winner of the Channel One Cup will receive $1 million, with the runner-up getting half that amount. The second-place teams in the group stage will be rewarded with $150,000 and even the last-place clubs will receive $100,000. Two teams each from Israel, Russia and Ukraine were split into two groups of three, with each club playing twice. The top team in each group will advance to the February 1 final at Bloomfield Stadium. Haifa, Kiev and Russian champion Spartak Moscow are in Group A, while Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk, CSKA Moscow and Hapoel Tel Aviv will play in Group B. Hapoel faces CSKA in the first Group B match Thursday night at Bloomfield Stadium. The four participating Russian and Ukrainian clubs all took part in the Champions League this season and the cup is effectively a preseason tournament for them. Their local leagues start next month and the UEFA Cup resumes its play in February. The competition could feature a premature meeting between Haifa and CSKA, who are set to face each other in the round of 32 of the UEFA Cup in three weeks.
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