LEE MAKEL scored a vital away goal yesterday as Hearts negotiated a potentially tricky tie in Estonia to leave themselves with an excellent chance of progressing into the first round-proper of the Cup Winners' Cup.
Makel grabbed the winner in this preliminary round first leg game after 21 minutes. The former Huddersfield and Blackburn midfielder robbed Oleg Kolotsei inside the penalty box before curling a spectacular shot into the corner of the net.
Hearts had plenty of possession but failed to add to Makel's goal in front of a sparse crowd. However, they should have done enough to progress beyond the second leg at Tynecastle in 13 days' time.
Prior to this game Lantana had never won a match in Europe. They switched the tie to the national stadium in the hope of attracting more neutral fans. But the home-from-home crowd saw the Edinburgh side dominate the game from the start.
In a lively opening, Stephane Adam touched the ball wide after Jim Hamilton had headed on a cross from Neil McCann, who then saw a header go just wide of the post before Makel made the breakthrough.
Soon afterwards Hamilton knocked a good 20-yard shot wide, but Hearts almost paid the penalty for relaxing their grip on the match in the 29th minute, when Vitali Leitan struck the post. A further scare followed four minutes after the break when Leitan got away from David Weir, only to drag his shot disappointingly wide.
Hearts maintained their dominance after the break, and Thomas Flogel should have added a second goal at the death when the keeper flapped at McCann's cross, but the Austrian striker sent his shot over the top.
However, with the away goal under their belts, Hearts can surely now safely steer themselves through the second leg.
Lantana Tallinn: Ussoltsev, Krasnopgrov, Kalimullin, Kolotsei, Bahmatski, Mitjunov, Borissov, Leitan, Valuiski, Gorjatsov, Koulitchenko. Substitutes not used: Kiseljov, Kulikov, Jersoiv, Tselnokov.
Hearts: Rousset, Naysmith, Weir, Salvatori, Ritchie, McCann, Adam (Quitongo, 86), Hamilton (Murray, 86), Locke, Flogel, Makel. Substitutes not used: McKenzie, McKinnon, Pressley, Murie, Holmes.
Referee: M Benes (Czech Republic)Reuse content