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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Colin Brown auth-> William Collum
19 of 021 ----- L SPL H


By Colin Brown, 20/12/2008
CHRISTIAN NADE somehow escaped a sending-off from ref Willie Collum — but it didn’t stop Csaba Laszlo hauling him off.

Nade’s horror tackle after after 32 minutes caught United full-back Paul Dixon both late and high.

Furious United gaffer Craig Levein bellowed at the yellow-carded hitman as his player lay poleaxed and Laszlo immediately replaced him with David Obua.

Dixon said: “I played the ball to Morgaro Gomis and I just saw him charging at me. I had nowhere to go.

“He caught me above the knee on the thigh. I think he was taken off for his own good before he was sent off, but he didn’t apologise to me.”

Laszlo admitted he took his man off before he was sent off but he defended Nade’s tackle.

He said: “I don’t understand indiscipline and if the referee saw Nade’s frustration he may have given him a red card. I didn’t think the tackle deserved a red card but I must protect the player and my team and this was not a negative decision.

“Christian is a good guy and he will be in my team next week.

“Bringing on Obua was a tactical switch as well.

“Although we didn’t win the game was good publicity for Scottish football. We can’t win every game but we we didn’t take our chances today.”

Levein revealed Nade had apologised to him and the United gaffer did likewise.

He said: “The most important thing is that Paul Dixon is okay. Nade came and apologised to me at the end and I shouldn’t have shouted at him so I apologised for that. The tackle was late, the referee dealt with it and the player’s okay. That’s an end to it.”

With both sides opting for five in midfield and a lone striker space was at a premium in the early exchanges.

Craig Conway showed Robbie Neilson a clean pair of heels as he cut inside the full back but his rising shot was always going over.

Hearts were being well contained but Lukasz Zaluska showed he was wide awake as he charged off his line to gather Christophe Berra's header with Nade closing in.

United skipper Lee Wilkie was a standout as he halted the progress of firstly Nade and then Andy Driver with well timed challenges.

After Nade’s rush of blood substitute Obua’s pace changed proceedings as Hearts came back into the game. His break down the right was electric and only a brilliant interception from Scott Robertson prevented Driver running on to the pass.

A great through ball from Laryea Kingston looked certain to give Hearts the lead as both Palazuelos and Obua were waiting to tap home but Wilkie stretched to get the slightest touch on the ball and divert it away from the Hearts players at the expense of a corner.

It was another vital interception from Wilkie, who was simply magnificent in the first half.

For all that, he still needed his goalkeeper to keep things level in the closing seconds of the first half. Driver fizzed in an angled drive and Zaluska swooped to push the ball around the post with his left hand.

Hearts continued to hold the upper hand into the second half and Driver forced a fine save from Zaluska as he capitalised on a mistake from big Garry Kenneth.

The defender got in a mix up with Willo Flood and Driver raced through but Zaluska saved at full stretch to his left as the winger tried to roll the ball into the far corner.

Next to threaten was Berra, who won the initial header from Bruno Aguiar’s corner and then swivelled to fire into the side netting.

The visitors survived a penalty shout after 56 minutes when Kingston ran on to Driver’s square ball to crash a first time shot off Kenneth’s arm. The defender was committed to the block as the ball struck him but his arms were outstretched and some referees may well have pointed to the spot.

It was all Hearts at that stage and Driver was growing in menace by the second. As the ball broke off Dixon in midfield the winger picked it up and ran at United’s defence.

Flood backed off, as did Kenneth, but Driver’s effort from 12 yards lacked conviction and Zaluska was able to gather at the second attempt.

United came back through a set play and Jon Daly escaped from Christos Karipidis to bullet a header inches wide from substitute Danny Swanson’s corner when he really should have scored.

Only sharp handling from Janos Balogh denied United from another set piece. From tight to the bye-line Craig Conway whipped in a free kick and tried to beat the keeper at his near post but Balogh was equal to the task.

Hearts hit back strongly and another mazy run from Driver presented Michael Stewart with a chance to shoot from 25 yards. His right foot strike looked netbound until Willo Flood got in a block.

Levein added: “I’ve been watching Hearts in recent weeks and we came here to play in a certain way.

“They’re great on the counter-attack and we weren’t going to make the running. We came to keep it tight and I never really felt that we would concede a goal.”

HEARTS: Balogh, Neilson, Wallace, Berra, Zaliukas, Karipidis, Kingston, Aguiar (Stewart 76), Palazuelos, Driver, Nade (Obua 32, Cesnauskis 82). Subs not used: MacDonald, Mole, Thomson, Jonsson.

DUNDEE UTD: Zaluska, Kovacevic, Dixon, Kenneth, Wilkie, Flood, S Robertson, Gomis, D Robertson (Swanson 61), Conway, Daly. Subs not used: McGovern, Dillon, Grainger, Feeney, O’Donovan, Buaben.

News Of The World

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