European Football: Snodin supplies fitting finale: Czechs undermined by dismissal

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The Independent Online
Heart of Midlothian. . .4

Slavia Prague. . . . . .2

(Hearts win 4-3 on aggregate)

AN EMOTIONAL night of classic European action at Tynecastle, which was packed with incident and drama, saw Hearts progress to the second round of the Uefa Cup thanks to a quite magnificent final goal scored by Glynn Snodin, the former Leeds United player.

His 30-yard free-kick, hit with power and precision, soared into the top corner for a fitting climax to a remarkable match which produced six goals and a sending-off for Martin Penicka, of Slavia, who led 1-0 from the first leg.

Undoubtedly John Robertson was an influential figure for Hearts, returning after a two-game absence, and although he did not score himself he had a hand in his side's first two goals.

After 10 minutes he controlled a Snodin pass, turned and laid the ball into the path of Gary MacKay who steadied himself then shot accurately into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

Level on aggregate with that important early goal behind them, Hearts continued to press forward and were rightly punished for ignoring the danger of the counter-attack. Slavia forced a corner in 14 minutes and from the kick Jaroslav Silhavy stole in to score from close range.

Hearts responded by tightening their game again, taking control in midfield, and they were rewarded after 21 minutes with a second goal. Eamonn Bannon crossed from the right, after exchanging passes with Robertson, for Ian Baird to power in a header at the near post.

Even then the Scots trailed on the away-goals rule and needed to score again to stay in the competition. They obliged through Craig Levein before the interval, his header from a corner arcing in at the far post.

The mood of the game turned in the second half from the moment Robertson fell in an off-the-ball incident with Silhavy. The Czechoslovak defender was unpunished by a far from impressive referee, who later showed the red card to Penicka for a foul on Baird. From the stands he seemed a scapegoat for Solhavy's indiscretion.

Ten-man Slavia shocked the large crowd with a second goal on 65 minutes when bad defending allowed Pavel Kuka a clear run on Henry Smith and his delicate chip finished off the move.

That goal was eclipsed by the quality of the strike which took Hearts through to the second round. Snodin will rarely again hit a free-kick with the same power and precision, the goalkeeper standing little chance of seeing the ball, far less dealing with it. Altogether, it was a thunderous moment to cap a momentous night.

Hearts: Smith; Hogg, McKinlay, Levein, MacKay, Van Der Ven, Robertson, McLaren (Wright, 60), Baird, Snodin, Bannon.

Slavia Prague: Janos; Petrous, Suchoparek, Silhavy, Jurasko, Tatarcuk, Binic (Berger, 74), Penicka, Kuka, Necas (Novak, 81), Lerch.

Referee: R Larsson (Sweden).

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