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|<-Page||<-Team||Mon 17 Aug 2009 Dundee United 2 Hearts 0||Team->||Page->|
|<-Srce||<-Type||Daily Record ------ Report||Type->||Srce->|
|Csaba Laszlo||<-auth||Gary Ralston||auth->||Steve Conroy|
|Stewart Michael||[D Cadamarteri pen 3] ;[D Cadamarteri 86]|
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Dundee United 2 Hearts 0
Aug 18 2009 By Gary Ralston
IT ALL kicked off for ESPN in the SPL - and Hearts are already suffering a severe case of deja vu.
Former Everton star Danny Cadamarteri scored two debut strikes, with his first from the penalty spot winning him a new bicycle as part of the Tannadice club's centenary celebrations.
But it was Jambos skipper Michael Stewart who was sent on his bike by ref Steve Conroy midway early in the second half following his dismissal for two yellow card offences.
Stewart, booked in the first half for a late challenge on Danny Swanson, saw red for a reckless lunge at Scott Robertson as he kicked off his new reign as team leader in inglorious fashion.
Hearts players saw red 10 times last season and further indiscipline this time around will cost their club dear - in more ways than one - as they seek to build on Csaba Laszlo's first season in charge.
Broadcaster ESPN specialise in American sports and for a spell last night this looked like descending into the equivalent of an ice hockey rammy, with the final caution count 5-3 for Hearts, including Stewart's double.
For sure, the Jambos cannot lose their heads like this in Zagreb onThursday night or their Europa League adventure, difficult enough as it is, will be over before it has even begun.
Hearts battled bravely enough with 10 men but United always looked slicker, pacier and more punchy in attack and thoroughly merited their victory.
In the end, the only surprise was it took Cadamarteri so long to underline his team's superiority with his second goal in 85 minutes adding to his spot-kick opener after only 180 seconds. The confetti had long since cleared after the Rangers title party here in May when the two sides most likely to challenge to be best of the rest in the months ahead ran out for kick-off.
Andy Webster was in Rangers flannels and blazer last time out but he wore tangerine last night - and Hearts fans tore into their former defender for walking out of their club three years ago.
However, the Jambos were stunned within only three minutes when United grabbed the lead from the spot after Eggert Jonsson had carelessly stuck out a leg to trip fleet-footed Swanson as he cut inside from the left.
There were no complaints from Hearts at the decision from Steve Conroy and although Marian Kello got a glove on Cadamarteri's penalty, he couldn't stop it from squeezing inside his right-hand post.
United, stung at narrowly missing out on Europe again last season, were sizzling like Britney Spears in her latest bikini shots - and Hearts were almost hit one more time when Craig Levein's side scythed through the visitors' defence in 18 minutes.
Cadamarteri, so sharp and mobile, darted quickly on to a pass inside on the right from David Goodwillie and powered his way into the opposition box, only to be bundled over by Ismael Bouzid.
Answer Astonishingly Conroy, in a perfect position, did not point to the spot while farside assistant Gary Cheyne ignored fierce and legitimate appeals for another penalty.
Hearts had little answer to the movement up front of Tangerine terrors Goodwillie and Cadamarteri and it was a mark of how badly Laszlo's side were toiling in the middle of the park that Stewart and David Obua were booked before 25 minutes were even gone.
Stewart was trying his damnedest to drive his team forward but the ball wouldn't stick up front, although it was not without the promptings from Suso Santana on the right, easily the most likely creator in maroon.
Ruben Palazuelos did at least force Nicky Weaver into a fine save midway through the first half with a decent shot from 25 yards but the keeper clearly has confident hands and dived low to his left to effortlessly clutch his effort to his chest.
At last, Hearts were beginning to enjoy more possession and David Witteveen nodded over from a Jonsson free-kick before Jose Goncalves was inches away from connecting in the six-yard box with an Obua set-piece.
However, United have pace to burn in the final third and were always a threat on the counter, especially when Swanson was on the ball and running at top speed, his yellow boots a blur as he jinked and weaved inside and out the Jambos rearguard.
Finally, there was something for the visiting fans to cheer 10 minutes before the break - but only whenWebster was booked for a foul on Obua. Witteveen almost squeezed a shot past Weaver minutes later, then the keeper was again alert to deny Obua with a save low to his right.
As half-time approached Mihael Kovacevic was booked for a clumsy tackle on Christian Nade, who had been toiling after going down moments earlier with a groin injury.
United were given a let off minutes into the second half when Weaver darted from his line with the ball in hand in an attempt to set up a speedy counter.
However, in his enthusiasm he ran outside the box and was lucky assistant Cheyne was off the pace and couldn't see directly along the 18-yard line.
Then it was the Jambos' turn to breathe a sigh of relief when Goodwillie forced Bouzid off the ball as he dawdled in the box but the striker's shot from a narrow angle whistled across the face of goal when a cut back for Swanson may have brought greater reward.
However, the Jambos' hopes of taking anything from the match were dealt a severe blow when Stewart was given his marching orders in 51 minutes for a second yellow card.
Minutes earlier the midfielder was involved in a run-in with Conroy because he felt the ref had been slow to blow for a free-kick in his favour.
However, he left the official with no other option but to reach for a second yellow following a late tackle from behind on Robertson.
Hearts fans inside Tannadice audibly groaned at yet more indiscipline from their team, who have cost their club hefty fines in each of the last four seasons.
Laszlo took off Witteveen and replaced him with Ian Black - and the little dynamo soon sparked further midfield mayhem with an ugly tackle on Swanson midway through the second half.
Players angrily squared up to each other and Swanson appeared to swing a couple of punches in the melee after finally finding his feet and was lucky only to be booked.
Black was also cautioned, along with team-mate Santana as the football of the first half became a sad after thought.
Hearts battled bravely but not for the first time these last 12 months they lacked a cutting edge in attack.
United were content to soak it up and hit on the break, but the killer second proved elusive. However Goodwillie brought out a brilliant stop from Kello, who touched his lob from a Craig Conway cross over the bar.
Webster almost made himself even more unpopular with the Hearts fans from the resulting corner but his header at the back post bounced off the outside of the post.
But Cadamarteri finally added his second five minutes from time as Hearts went all out for an equaliser.
They were caught on the hop as United swept up the field and the striker, played in by Prince Buaben, raced clear of the offside trap to knock his second under Kello from 25 yards.
Man Of The Match: Danny Cadamarteri (Dundee United)
Taken from the Daily Record
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