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Csaba Laszlo <-auth auth->
[Seigert 1] ;[Orahovac pen 62]
2 of 002 Kestutis Ivaskevicius 78F A

The Lack of killer touch is striking

Published Date: 30 July 2008
SV Wehen
Wiesbaden 2-1 Hearts

THERE'S no denying Hearts' ability to create chances under Csaba Laszlo.
Taking them remains another matter entirely following last night's defeat to Wehen Wiesbaden, which concluded the club's ten-day tour of Germany. A performance which grew stronger as the match wore on could not disguise a burning issue for Laszlo, which is how to start bulging some nets.

Nor could the matter have escaped Vladimir Romanov's notice as he peered from a balcony above the dressing rooms. Kestutis Ivaskevicius scored late on to reduce the two-goal deficit and the Edinburgh side may have forced an equaliser before full-time against an extremely capable Wehen side. Ultimately, though, they could only lament opportunities passed up earlier in the evening.

"I think this was the best game from the team," said Laszlo. "If we look at ball possession, we had 70 per cent. But the problem is you can't win the game that way, you must score." Through no fault of his own, the Hungarian is beginning to resemble a broken record just three weeks into his new job.

"I don't like to think about the results. We must put them aside and take the next step," he continued. "Last night was a positive. The goal we got was a fantastic passing move between five players but before that we had many chances to score. I have seen a lot of games in my life but I've never seen so many chances between two professional teams. This is okay but with chances we don't win the game."

Clearly, he needs a striker. Discussions with Romanov over potential new recruits will continue before the transfer window closes but Motherwell's season-opening visit to Tynecastle is fast approaching. Laszlo knows Hearts are close to being genuine European contenders this season, but without a predatory forward the jigsaw remains incomplete.

"We are trying everything and I hope as soon as possible we can take a quality striker who can score," he said, whilst also praising Jamie Mole's contribution last night.

"The most positive was Jamie Mole, he was always available up front. I think Juho (Makela] must work very hard if he would like to come into the team. I give him a lot of chances but at the moment Jamie Mole is a little more in front. If you have so many possibilities, like five or six head balls, and you don't take a chance, you must think about the next step in the striking department.

"As the coach you can help players create chances but the finish must be from the player. They must put the ball in the goal."

Wehen Wiesbaden were returning to their former domain for the first time since constructing a new city-centre stadium to facilitate their promotion from Germany's regional leagues to Bundesliga 2. The new home may boast superior facilities, but few venues anywhere in Europe could beat the picturesque setting of the Stadion am Hallberg. Its hilltop location offered an ideal place to conclude a pre-season trip.

One interested spectator was Valdas Ivanauskas, one of Laszlo's predecessors and also a face familiar to Wehen following his tenure as manager of Carl Zeiss Jena in Bundesliga 2.

The hosts finished above Friday evening's opponents, Kaiserslautern, in the league last season. If that wasn't sufficient evidence of their mettle, winger Benjamin Siegert's opening goal after just 18 seconds was. Andy Driver ceded possession carelessly and Wehen manoeuvred the ball down their right flank with consummate ease before the delivery was expertly converted by Siegert from an acute angle.

Headers from Christophe Berra and Marius Zaliukas followed for Hearts, but Makela's sclaffing of Driver's cross prompted Laszlo to slap the dugout wall in frustration. Makela next had an opportunity on 23 minutes but succeeded only in nodding Larry Kingston's cross over the crossbar from ten yards. He repeated that feat moments later from another of the Ghanaian's deliveries.

Falling behind so early made life awkward for Hearts in sweltering heat. They endeavoured to take the game to their opponents but always looked susceptible to counter attacks from a Wehen side not short on pace or skill. Matej Rapnik, on his first appearance at top-team level, attempted a 30-yard drive on 28 minutes which goalkeeper Alexander Walke held on to comfortably.

Although they enjoyed vociferous backing from the 913 crowd, chinks of light became visible in Wehen's armour as the half progressed. Mole's cross narrowly eluded Driver before Makela passed up Hearts' best opportunity of the first period. Kingston drove powerfully towards the byline on the right and squared the ball for the on-running Finn, who seemed perfectly placed inside the six-yard box to score. However, his right-footed finish was weak and Walke saved for a corner.

Makela paid for his wastefulness at the interval and was replaced by Audrius Ksanavicius. It required a timely block by Jason Thomson early in the second period to prevent Wehen doubling their advantage, however the second goal followed on 62 minutes via the penalty spot. Substitute Ruben Palazuelos was ajudged to have bundled Siegert over in the penalty area and Sanibal Orahovac calmly converted from 12 yards.

Walke collected Palazuelos' effort from distance and Mole's header flew past the goalkeeper's right post, a chance the Englishman ought to have converted. At the opposite end, Palazuelos rescued Steve Banks as a shot squirmed from the goalkeeper's grasp and he cleared off the line to deny Orahovac.

Presented with the clearest chance of the evening on 74 minutes, Mole contrived to shoot against Walke's legs but four minutes later a goal fashioned in Lithuania offered Hearts some hope. Ivaskevicius cleverly interchanged passes with fellow substitute Ksanavicius on the Wehen 18-yard line, and from the one-two Ivaskevicius nipped into open space behind the defence for a convincing finish.

"If you look at these ten days in Germany, we won the first game 6-0, then we had Kaiserslautern," said Laszlo. "I told everybody we made a very big mistake in the last minutes before the break in that game. We had two individual mistakes last night, first Driver's pass direct to the opponent and then Ruben gave a clear penalty. He must learn not to stay behind the ball and after he won't have any problem.

"I am a little bit sad. If you take the flight back to Scotland with a good result it's much easier, but we must think positive.

"We saw a lot of positive things. I am happy that our opponents didn't get any goals from the action, they had two goals from big mistakes."

SV Wehen Wiesbaden: Walke; Nakas, Kopilas, Gilbo, Panandetiguiri; Siegert, Bick, Catic, Orahovac; Diakite, Konig. Subs: Birkenbach, Kokot, Ziegenbein, Schmidt, Lakicevic.

Hearts: Banks; Thomson, Zaliukas, Berra, Rapnik; Kingston, Jonsson, Stewart, Driver; Makela, Mole. Subs: MacDonald 76 (for Banks), Karipidis 80 (for Rapnik), McGowan, Ivaskevicius 63 (for Kingston), Mikoliunas 84 (for Driver), Ksanavicius 46 (for Makela), Palazuelos 56 (for Jonsson), Husband.

Taken from the Scotsman

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