Europa League - Qualifying First Round - 1st Leg
Hearts2FC Infonet1

Heart of Midlothian 2-1 Infonet

Hearts players celebrate their second goal as Callum Paterson's effort is deflected in off Infonet's Andrei Kalimullin
Hearts players celebrate their second goal - deflected in off Infonet's Andrei Kalimullin

Hearts had to come from behind to take a vital lead to Estonia for next Wednesday's second leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie.

The hosts' display was uncertain and their opponents took full advantage when Jegveni Harin volleyed home.

But Hearts swiftly levelled, Prince Buaben converting a penalty after Vladimir Avilov handled in the box.

They went ahead via an Andrei Kalimullin own goal before half-time, but Infonet spurned chances to level.

The victory was accompanied by a clear sense of relief for Robbie Neilson and his players.

Infonet are midway through their league campaign and in second place. They looked organised and athletic, so the victory provides Hearts with an important advantage.

Visitors threaten in attack

Raggedness dogged the home side throughout and there was never any sense of them being in command.

They set out to build on their lead in the second half, but struggled to play through a stubborn Infonet defence, while the visitors continued to threaten on the attack.

Jack Hamilton had to make a series of second-half saves, but also watch in relief as Harin's driven shot from the edge of the box, having skipped inside from the right flank, was deflected onto the roof of the net.

Harin was one of several Infonet players to cause problems for the Hearts defence.

Infonet's Jegveni Harin volleys home the opening goal at Tynecastle
Infonet's Jegveni Harin volleys home the opening goal at Tynecastle

They were enthused by his opening goal, but also by the agility of towering centre-forward Vladimir Voskoboinikov and the energy of Dmitrij Kruglov, who drew a superb diving save from Hamilton in the first half and another late on with a 40-yard free-kick.

Uncertain Hearts defending

Hearts had to overcome periods of alarm, but familiar traits were at least to hand.

Sam Nicholson was bright, inventive and full of dangerous running, while Faycal Rherras, too, looked athletic and technically composed on his debut at left-back.

Having conceded the opening goal, Hearts refused to buckle. There was an element of good fortune to the equaliser, with the penalty awarded for handball, but the link-up play between another debutant, Conor Sammon, and Juama was sharp in the build-up. Buaben was composed with his spot-kick.

The goal signalled a spell of pressure as Hearts began to find their rhythm and when Jamie Walker slung a corner towards the back post, Paterson turned the ball back across goal, where Kalimullin awkwardly turned it into his own net.

Uncertain, and occasionally last-gasp, defending was a feature of Hearts' play, although Hamilton remained assured in goal.

Still short of match sharpness and dynamism, the second leg - a 1645 BST kick-off in Tallinn next Wednesday - is unlikely to be a formality.

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Hamilton
  • 2PatersonBooked at 75mins
  • 5Ozturk
  • 14Souttar
  • 3Rherras
  • 11Nicholson
  • 8BuabenSubstituted forKitchenat 79'minutes
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 7Walker
  • 18SammonBooked at 76mins
  • 9Delgado LloriaSubstituted forKingat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Rossi
  • 6Kitchen
  • 12King
  • 24Smith
  • 25Todorov
  • 26Zanatta
  • 51Gallacher

FC Infonet

  • 1Igonen
  • 7VolodinBooked at 90mins
  • 2Kalimullin
  • 4AvilovBooked at 45mins
  • 23KruglovBooked at 41mins
  • 33MasitsevSubstituted forHaminuat 61'minutes
  • 10MosnikovBooked at 30mins
  • 5Ofosu-AppiahBooked at 60mins
  • 27Dmitrijev
  • 9HarinSubstituted forKulinitsat 83'minutes
  • 8VoskoboinikovBooked at 78mins

Substitutes

  • 6Haminu
  • 12Kulinits
  • 14Vnukov
  • 15Golovljov
  • 20Domov
  • 22Rättel
  • 25Zelentsov
Referee:
Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson
Attendance:
14,417

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamFC Infonet
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home12
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away7
Corners
Home8
Away3
Fouls
Home18
Away25

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 30th June 2016

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