London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 1999-00--> All for 19991208
<-Page <-Team Wed 08 Dec 1999 Aberdeen 3 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies <-auth None auth-> Jim McCluskey
[E Jess 9] ;[A Stavrum 63] ;[C Guntveit 65]
1 of 002 Scott Severin 30 L SPL A

Aberdeen 3 Hearts 1

By Simon Stone, PA Sport

Basement boys Aberdeen bagged their first home win of the season at Pittodrie as Moroccan new-boy Hicham Zerouali turned the contest with his first two touches in Scottish football.

After replacing Robbie Winters on the hour, Zerouali took just two minutes to become a Dons hero.

His first impact was to produce the speculative 25-yard drive which was spilled by Hearts goalkeeper Roddy McKenzie, allowing Arild Stavrum to notch his first goal for the club with a two-yard tap-in.

Two minutes later Zerouali released Cato Guntveit, who dispatched a 20-yard drive past McKenzie to ensure the Dons recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since last December.

It reduced the gap on second-bottom Kilmarnock to just three points and relieved the gloom which has enveloped the Granite City during a torrid campaign so far.

Aberdeen had taken the lead after just 10 minutes when Guntveit's through ball sprang the Hearts offside trap, allowing Eoin Jess to take the ball round McKenzie and tap the ball into an empty net.

Young midfielder Scott Severin levelled for the visitors on the half-hour when Stephane Adam, who had looked Hearts' most penetrative attacking force, turned provider with the far-post cross which his team-mate headed past Jim Leighton from 10 yards with neither Derek Whyte nor Andy Dow making a forceful challenge.

These teams should be two of Scotland's most sustained challengers to the Old Firm, but neither showed anything noteworthy in a mediocre first half.

Aberdeen had failed win notch a home league win all season and Hearts had not managed a victory in their previous six matches before Sunday's televised triumph over Dundee United.

The visitors' boss Jim Jefferies gave a debut to former Rangers defender Gordan Petric following his £500,000 signing from AEK Athens, but the Serbian hardly covered himself in glory when he allowed Jess to sprint through unattended for the opener.

Colin Cameron and Gary Locke were also back for the Edinburgh side after suspension, but neither man had too much impact on the game which the home side just edged territorially.

Locke did provide the right-wing cross from which Stephane Adam just failed to find the vital final touch, the French striker having previously brought a smart save from Leighton with an angled drive.

Sravrum went close at the other end as he tried to convert Jess' corner.

But the Dons defence looked the most vulnerable when the pressure was applied, and Severin's leveller came at a time when the hosts were being pushed back.

If McKenzie had been beaten easily for the Aberdeen opener he proved a more useful barrier when he palmed away Stavrum's effort after Jess and Guntveit had combined in midfield.

It ensured the visitors maintained parity, but they should have been ahead five minutes after the break when Petric beat three players on halfway and threaded a ball down the right wing to put Adam in the clear.

The cross was perfectly measured for Cameron. But, just as the Scotland midfielder was about to fire into the empty net, Mark Perry nipped in with a superb sliding tackle.

Perry's introduction for the injured Juan Cobian had been the only change made by Dons coach Ebbe Skovdahl following the CIS Insurance Cup victory over Rangers seven days ago, and the youngster was clearly intent on proving a point.

But, with the game finely balanced, it was the introduction of 22-year-old Moroccan international Zerouali that tipped the contest firmly in Aberdeen's favour.

The youngster, who arrived from Fus Rabat after protracted work permit problems, can speak no English. But he was certainly talking Aberdeen's language on a night when they suggested, for the first time this season, that a place at the foot of the Premier League is not an absolute certainty.

His fellow Moroccan Rachid Belabed, also introduced from the substitutes' bench, crashed a shot against the bar as he attempted to match Zerouali's amazing contribution.

It was a task beyond him - but the smiles on the faces of the Dons fans confirmed they had found a new star.

Aberdeen: Leighton, Perry, Whyte, Jess, Winters (Zerouali 62), Dow (Belabed 73), Bernard, Anderson, Guntveit, McAllister, Staurum (Rutkiewicz 89).

Subs Not Used: Esson, McGuire.

Booked: McAllister, Belabed.

Goals: Jess 9, Staurum 63, Guntveit 65.

Hearts: McKenzie, Pressley, Naysmith, Locke (Wales 72), Ritchie, Fulton, Adam (Juanjo 82), Cameron, Jackson, Petric, Severin.

Subs Not Used: Rousset, Murray, James.

Goals: Severin 30.

Att: 10,274

Ref: Jim McCluskey (Scotland).

Taken from

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