London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Wed 09 Aug 2006 Hearts 1 AEK Athens 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Ronnie Esplin auth-> Nicolai Vollquartz
Aguiar Bruno [P Kapetanos 88] ;[N Liberopoulos 93]
44 of 066 Saulius Mikoliunas 61 E H


By Ronnie Esplin, PA Sport

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Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits the Gorgie side were second best against AEK Athens in their Champions League qualifying defeat by the Greek side at Murrayfield.

The Jambos, who were fortunate to survive a first-half battering from the visitors, took a shock lead in the 61st minute when midfielder Saulius Mikoliunas netted from close range after Roman Bednar's first effort had rebounded off the post.

But the Edinburgh side's joy turned to despair four minutes later when Bruno Aguiar was sent off for two yellow cards, the second for knocking the ball away after the home side had conceded a foul in the middle of the park.

The 10-man Hearts team struggled to cope with the power and pace of AEK in the later stages and there was no real surprise when, with a minute of normal time remaining, Pantelis Kapetanos headed a cross by substitute Stavros Tziortziopoulos past the helpless Scotland keeper for a well-deserved equaliser.

However, the Tynecastle men suffered a cruel piece of misfortune deep into injury time when stopper Christophe Berra deflected a shot from Nikolaos Lymperopoulos past the stranded Gordon and into his own net.

It put the Greeks into a strong position for the second leg in Athens in a fortnight. Gordon denies the Jambos had under-performed on the night and still harbours hopes of turning the tie around in the second leg.

He said: "For 88 minutes we thought we had got a great result which would have given us something to defend over in Greece.

"But we got caught with a couple of late goals which was disappointing.

"I don't think it was case of us not playing well, I just think Athens were by far the better team throughout the game.

"But we stuck to our game plan and restricted them to long shots.

"They are a good side and it's difficult to play against teams of that quality.

"But if we want to get to the Champions League group stages then we have to beat teams like that.

"We can play a lot better than that although it remains to be seen whether teams are going to let us play better.

"But we will go to Greece and give it our best shot and try and keep a clean sheet and if we can stick a couple of chance away then you never know.

"It can be done. It's going to be difficult but we are still hopeful that we can do it.

"We're not out of the tie but it would have been better to go there with a better scoreline."

Aguiar, meanwhile, believes he would not have been sent off if the referee had considered his second yellow card more carefully.

But the Portuguese player insists he would not have earned a red card if match official Nicolai Vollquartz had not made an immediate decision.

Aguiar said: "The referee did not realise he had booked me before. He thought he was showing me only one yellow card.

"I don't think he would have booked me if he had known."

Taken from

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