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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Hibernian 0-0 Dnipro
Ivan Kotenko holds off Hibs' David Murphy
Hibernian's Uefa Cup first-round tie was left hanging in the balance after an evenly-balanced goalless draw in the first leg at Easter Road with Dnipro.

Two one-handed saves from goalkeeper Zbigniew Malkowski prevented Sergei Kornilenko turning the Ukrainians' early dominance into a first-half lead.

David Murphy also cleared an Olexandr Gritsay header off the Hibs line.

But Scott Brown and Ivan Sproule both struck the post and Artem Kusliy saved well to deny Sproule from close range.

Hibs had remained unchanged despite the return to fitness of Gary Caldwell, the captain making do with a seat on the bench.

Dnipro, without playmaker Serhiy Nazarenko through suspension and claiming a bout of injury problems on top of poor league form, nevertheless pushed forward from the kick off.

Only a fine, finger-tip save by Malkowski prevented a Kornilenko header from 14 yards putting the Ukrainian side ahead.

A couple of poor punches by goalkeeper Kusliy gave Hibs hope, but the Edinburgh side were finding it difficult to create clearcut chances.

Dnipro were carving out better openings and Malkowski trapped a low drive from Kornilenko under his hand after the striker powered into the box past Chris Hogg.

Kornilenko then sent another effort just wide of the far post from 12 yards.

Gritsay came closer still when he stole in at the back post and Murphy had to hack his header off the line.

Brown was closest to breaking the deadlock for Hibs before the break.

The midfielder held off two defenders and curled an effort round the goalkeeper but against the outside of the far post.

Caldwell replaced the injured Gary Smith at half-time and Michael Stewart quickly followed, with the midfielder being replaced with in-form substitute Sproule.

Goalkeeper Kusliy again caused some nervous moments in his defence with a miscued punch at a corner, finishing the clearance with an overhead kick while lying on the deck.

Kusliy did well to block after Sproule pounced in a crowded penalty box and fired towards goal from 10 yards after sidestepping his marker.

The excellent Brown was stretchered off injured, being replaced with Stephen Glass, but Hibs maintained their momentum.

Sproule rattled the inside of the post with a drive after beating one man down the wing before turning another on the edge of the box.

Hibs had taken control now but could not make the breakthrough that could have made all the difference in the second leg in Dnipropetrovsk.

Hibernian: Malkowski, Whittaker, Hogg, Smith (Caldwell 45), Murphy, Scott Brown (Glass 69), Beuzelin, Stewart (Sproule 52), Thomson, Shiels, O'Connor.
Subs Not Used: Simon Brown, Konte, Riordan, Rudge.

Booked: Sproule.

Dnipro: Kusliy, Gritsay, Rusol, Shershun, Shelaev, Radchenko, Semochko, Andrienko (Motuz 77), Kravchenko (Kostyshyn 80), Kotenko, Serhiy Kornilenko (Balabanov 70).
Subs Not Used: Kernozenko, Lisitski, Matiukhin, Mikhailenko.

Booked: Andrienko, Semochko, Kostyshyn.

Att: 16,861

Ref: Knud Fisker (Denmark)

Interview: Hibernian boss Tony Mowbray


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