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<-Page <-Team Thu 06 Nov 2003 FC Girondins de Bordeaux 0 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Craig Levein <-auth None auth-> Kristinn Jakobsson
7 of 007 Mark de Vries 78 E A

Classic Match: Bordeaux 0, Hearts 1: Nov 6, 2003

Hearts pulled off one of their greatest ever European results in their UEFA Cup first-round tie ..
THEY came from far and wide to cheer on their heroes and the 3000 Hearts fans who made the journey to France and the UEFA Cup clash with Bordeaux will never forget what they witnessed.

Many had waited years for such an experience and, although the Jambos lost the home leg 2-0 to crash out of the competition, their fans will remember the first leg fondly.

Craig Levein's unfancied side grabbed a magnificent victory in the second round, first-leg showdown – a fairytale result which will linger long in the minds of those fortunate enough to have been inside the Stade Chamba-Delmas. The Jambos were simply magnificent as they recorded a richly deserved triumph, one of the best wins by a Scottish team in Europe.

Hearts had arrived in the home of red wine with the locals having dismissed their chances. But they produced a vintage performance which will be savoured for many years to come.

Levein had promised to alter his formation to combat the potent attacking threat of the home side which had gone into the clash unbeaten under new manager Michel Pavon, and the Gorgie boss pulled off a tactical masterstroke with his 3-6-1 system.

The Jambos strangled the life out of their opponents in the middle of the park with Alan Maybury, Phil Stamp, Jean-Louis Valois, Dennis Wyness, Robbie Neilson and Patrick Kisnorbo hounding their opponents as if their lives depended on it.

The defence also stood firm, with Andy Webster, Steven Pressley and Kevin McKenna all magnificent, while no praise is high enough for the display of rookie keeper Craig Gordon – now at Sunderland after a £9 million move – the 20-year-old having been handed his European debut. He responded in superb fashion with an impressive performance, two saves in the second half in particular coming straight out of the top drawer. And up front Dutchman Mark de Vries ran himself into the ground as he lead the line in superb style.

Hearts grew in confidence as the first half wore on. They shackled the hosts and were unfortunate not to be ahead by the break. They could have had a penalty in the 21st minute when Robbie Neilson was brought down in the area but referee Kristinn Jakobsson decreed the infringement was outside the box. Gordon must have been delighted with the way in which the men in front of him kept the hosts quiet and he wasn't called upon to make a save until the 27th minute when he did well to knock away David Jemmali's swerving shot from distance.

Seven minutes from half-time, Wyness was inches away from opening the scoring as he just failed to make contract with the ball in front of goal after Pascal Feindouno had headed Neilson's cross into his path.

It was mission accomplished for Levein at the interval but things were to get even better after the break, although not surprisingly there were a few scares against the team which had defeated Champions League hopefuls Marseille just days earlier.

Current Rangers star Jean-Claude Darcheville had been pinpointed as the Bordeaux danger man and he showed a glimpse of his talent four minutes after the restart when he cut inside on the left and rifled a shot over the bar. Just after the hour mark, he came even closer, the post coming to Hearts' rescue after his shot had beaten the despairing dive of Gordon. The kid gloves then had a fine stop at his near post from Maurici
o Pochettino in the 76th minute and the save was to prove crucial with the Jambos grabbing the all-important away goal just three minutes later.

Paul Hartley, who had replaced Jean-Louis Valois, sent in a free-kick towards McKenna and the Canadian's looping header looked net-bound until Ulrich Rame tipped it onto the woodwork. De Vries, though, reacted swiftly to smash the ball home and send the Hearts players, management and fans into dream land.

Bordeaux were stunned by the strike but twice came close to an equaliser in the dying moments of the tie, Gordon getting down well to save from Darcheville and then Marouane Chamakh blazing over in injury time when he looked certain to score.

Hearts: Gordon, McKenna, Pressley, Webster, Neilson (McCann 72) Maybury, Stamp (Severin 79) Wyness, Valois (Hartley 68) Kisnorbo, De Vries. Subs not used: Moilanen, MacFarlane, Kirk, Weir,

Taken from the Scotsman

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