Hapoel Tel Aviv leaves for Italy this afternoon where it will play AC Milan in its UEFA Cup quarterfinal second leg tie on Thursday.
The 1-0 victory in the home leg in Nicosia last Thursday has instilled confidence in the side as it prepares to take on a far superior and infinitely richer outfit on its home ground at one of the world's most famous soccer venues, the San Siro Stadium.
Some 5,000 Hapoel supporters will follow the club to the game and they are all hoping that the club's representative, Rafi Agiv, will continue from there on Friday to the semi-final draw in Switzerland.
Italian news agency ANSA estimated yesterday that as many as 8,000 Israelis would be on hand in the stadium, where the total number of spectators in the 90,000-seat stadium is not expected to exceed 20,000.
Hapoel's injured midfielder Ben Luz will not travel to Milan, but central defender Assi Domb, who had not trained at all since returning from Cyprus last week, held a full workout yesterday. Yaakov Hillel will replace suspended defender Yigal Antebi who picked up a yellow card in the game in Nicosia and will have to miss the match.
The team will hold another training session this morning before leaving for the airport to catch its flight to Milan.
Tomorrow the Israelis will train at San Siro for the only time before the game.
In the Milan camp the state of Ukrainian striker Andrei Shevchenko looks to be improving, although he held only a light workout yesterday. His striking partner, Filipo Inzaghi, is in a fitter state but coach Carlo Ancelotti has yet to decide whether he will open for the Italians.
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