London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Thu 25 Nov 2004 FC Basel 1 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth None auth-> Kristinn Jakobsson
[C Carignano 76]
7 of 018 Dennis Wyness 31 ;Robbie Neilson 89 E A

a magnificent victory

Hearts pulled off a magnificent victory last night when a sensational strike from full- back Robbie Neilson one minute from time earned the three points which keep them in the competition.

It was just reward for an attacking performance which kept Basle pinned back for long periods.

A controversial goal from substitute Cesar Carignano with 14 minutes left looked to have earned the home side a draw. Three of his fellow players looked offside but referee Kristinn Jakobsson ruled they were not interfering with play and allowed Carignano to hold off Neilson to score.

It was a cruel blow for Hearts who attacked as best they could and came back fighting through the late winning goal. Substitute Graham Weir should have killed the match in the last minute, but missed a great opportunity when one on one with goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler.

There was not a natural defensive midfielder in sight as John Robertson's side audaciously took the game to the home side with spectacular results. After defeats by Feyenoord and Schalke 04, the three points now give Hearts a great opportunity to quality for the knockout stages.

Such was the level of performance they would have taken a lot of confidence from the way they scored early and managed to match Basle in all areas of the field. Hearts went in at half-time 1-0 ahead as Dennis Wyness made up for missing a gilt-edged chance.

Basle defenders claimed Ramón Pereira, who was in an offside position, got the faintest of touches and the goal should have been disallowed. However, after being on the end of appalling refereeing decisions against Feyenood, it was a welcome change of fortune for the Tynecastle club.

Exuberant Hearts fans stupidly ran on to the pitch to celebrate the goal and their actions are sure to bring the club a fine from UEFA.

Wyness and Neilson may have claimed most of the glory but a save from Craig Gordon deserves equal billing. Mile Sterjovski put over a deep cross to Scott Chipperfield who was unmarked in the six-yard box. He stooped to head the ball home, but Gordon threw himself across his goal to pull of a magnificent save.

Picture a lesser version of Gordon Banks' save from Pele in the 1970 World Cup and you get the picture.

It was a night of unlikely star performers for Hearts who certainly deserved a win for their sheer attacking strategy. Michael Stewart, who had hardly kicked a ball during his loan period from Manchester United, was magnificent in the middle of the park until his substitution.

Young Joe Hamill got through a power of work and the fact that the suspended Paul Hartley and Patrick Kisnorbo were hardly missed was testament to his endeavours in the middle.

Up front, the physical presence of Mark de Vries kept the Basle defenders on their toes but the bad news for Hearts is that such is the Dutchman's growing reputation, the under-pressure Southampton coach Steve Wigley flew into Switzerland to take in the game and would have been impressed. The performances of Gordon, club captain Steven Pressley and full-back Alan Maybury, who cleared off his line with 15 minutes left, would also have caught his eye.

What cannot be forgotten is that despite the pedigree of the Basle side, Hearts matched them time and time again on a bitterly cold evening. The Tynecastle outfit kept things tight, played to exactly to Robertson's game plan and silenced the home crowd for long periods.

The Neilson strike will live long in the memory and has given Hearts a great chance to qualify from their final game against Ferençvaros at Murray- field on December 16.

Last night's win will go down as one of the best away performances in Europe in the club's history and will fill them with confidence.

They beat Bordeaux last season against the odds and have pulled off a remarkable result once again.

Craig Levein laid the foundations and Robertson has taken over the reigns with aplomb. He got his tactics just right and his cavalier attitude paid dividends.

The Hearts supporters celebrated long into the night on what was an historic occasion for the club. It was a night when Hearts had no failures and a team packed full of successes.

FC Basel (4-1-4-1) Zuberbühler; P Degen, Zwyssig, Smiljanic, Kleber; Huggell; Sterjovksi (D Degen 70), Delgado (Barberis 85), Rossi (Carignano 62), Chipperfield; Giménez. Subs: Quennoz, Mandl

Booked Giménez

Hearts (4-4-2) Gordon; Neilson, Webster, Pressley, Maybury; Stamp (Pereira 65), Hamill, Stewart (McFarlane 69) McAllister; Wyness, de Vries (Weir 85). Subs: Moilanen, Janczyk, Sloan, Berra

Referee Kristinn Jakobsson (Ice)

Taken from

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