Helsingborg subject of pre-match anthrax hoax

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The Independent Online

Helsingborg were the victims of an anthrax hoax just hours before their Uefa Cup tie with Ipswich, it emerged yesterday.

Helsingborg were the victims of an anthrax hoax just hours before their Uefa Cup tie with Ipswich, it emerged yesterday.

The Swedish club's preparations for Thursday night's 0-0 draw were thrown into chaos after Helsingborg's sporting director, Thomas Stenberg, found an envelope containing white powder pushed under his hotel room door. Police, firefighters and paramedics were called to the Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club complex in the early hours of the morning and those who had come into contact were decontaminated as a precaution.

It was nearly four hours before tests showed the substance was powder from an energy drink. Two people were given police warnings, though the club refused to confirm or deny whether they were players.

Helsingborg were denied a win by the agility of the goalkeeper, Matteo Sereni, but the Ipswich manager, George Burley, said: "Helsingborg will probably think they are favourites but we showed in the last round against Torpedo Moscow that we can go away from home and get a good result."

Leeds enjoyed better form in their 4-2 win over Troyes, and their striker Mark Viduka finally ended his Elland Road goal drought. The Australian doubled his tally for the season with his brace, and he said, "I don't think I've had as many chances all season as I did in the first half. It was like being a kid in a lolly shop."

Roma have revealed that they want Viduka as Gabriel Batistuta's long-term replacement.

The Hapoel Tel Aviv manager, Bror Kashtan, called their victory over Chelsea as one of Israel's finest moments in the sport.

Chelsea, who left six players behind because of security fears related to the political crisis in the Middle East, were beaten 2-0 by Hapoel through late goals. "We showed our guests from England that there is sport here, security and calm," Kashtan said.

The United Arab Emirates fought back from 2-0 down yesterday to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Oman that gave them the runners-up place in World Cup Asian zone Group B. They will meet the Group A runners-up, either Iran or Saudi Arabia, next month for the right to play the Republic of Ireland for a place in next year's finals.

The UAE just edged out Uzbekistan, who beat the group winners, China, 1-0 in Tashkent yesterday with a goal in the final minute.

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