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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Hearts 1-2 AEK Athens
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is in despair at the end
Craig Gordon had denied AEK until the closing minutes
Two late goals gave AEK Athens a deserved victory over 10-man Hearts in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier at Murrayfield.

AEK dominated the first half, but Saulius Mikoliunas slid home Hearts' opener in the second after a Roman Bednar drive came back off the post.

Hearts' Bruno Aguiar was sent off for a second yellow card on the hour.

And Pantelis Kapetanos headed home the equaliser before Nikos Liberopoulos' shot deflected in off Christophe Berra.

Hearts had suffered a blow just before the first leg at Murrayfield when midfielders Julien Brellier and Deividas Cesnauskis were ruled out through illness.

So Greek defender Christos Karipidis was drafted into midfield for his debut along with Mikoliunas.

Robbie Neilson replaced the injured Ibrahim Tall at right-back, while Takis Fyssas returned in place of Lee Wallace on the other flank against his countrymen.

AEK have yet to start their domestic season but quickly put Hearts' reshuffled rearguard under intense pressure.

Steven Pressley's stray defensive header under pressure looped against the top of his own bar.

And Nikolaos Lymperopoulos's snap-shot from 30 yards whistled just over.

Hearts first threat came from Mikoliunas, whose drive from the edge of the box struck the outside of the near post following a deflection.
Saulius Mikoliunas celebrates Hearts' goal
Saulius Mikoliunas had put Hearts into the lead

But AEK were still in the driving seat and a drive from Julio Cesar flew just over after deflecting off Pressley.

Michal Pospisil headed a Cesar corner against the outside of his own near post.

And Cesar forced a great, finger-tip save from goalkeeper Craig Gordon after a poor Pressley clearance.

AEK continued to look the more dangerous after the break and a drive from Lymperopoulos had the beating of Gordon but slipped just wide of the post.

The out-of-sorts Karipidis was replaced with Edgaras Jankauskas and the fit-again Lithuanian striker helped open the scoring.

He was found in the clear by Fyssas before setting up Bednar, whose shot from 16 yards struck the post before being forced home by Mikoliunas.

Aguiar was shown a second yellow card for throwing the ball away and Hearts head coach Valdas Ivanauskas was forced to withdraw striker Bednar and send on Wallace.

Mikoliunas could have given the 10 men a commanding lead if he had not sliced wildly wide when found unmarked at the back post.

But AEK equalised with a minute left of normal time and added the second in stoppage time to put them in a commanding position for the second leg.


Hearts: Gordon, Neilson, Fyssas, Berra, Pressley, McCann, Mikoliunas, Aguiar, Karipidis (Jankauskas 55), Bednar (Wallace 69), Pospisil (Elliot 82).
Subs Not Used: Banks, Beslija, Makela, Mole.

Sent Off: Aguiar (66). Booked: Aguiar, McCann.

Goal: Mikoliunas 62.

AEK Athens: Sorrentino, Pautasso (Tziortziopoulos 80), Dellas, Cirillo, Georgeas, Emerson, Ivic, Koutroumanos (Lakis 65), Julio Cesar (Tozser 90), Liberopoulos, Kapetanos.
Subs Not Used: Chiotis, Papaststhopoulos, Moras, Soares.

Booked: Georgeas.

Goals: Kapetanos 89, Berra 90 og.

Att: 32,459

Ref: Nicolai Vollquartz (Denmark).

SEE ALSO
Ivanauskas says ref cost Hearts
09 Aug 06 |  Heart of Midlothian


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