Heart Of Midlothian 3 NK Siroki Brijeg 0: Bednar ices Hearts' cake

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The Independent Football

The 60,000-seat home of Scottish rugby played host to pluck and maul last night as Bosnia's champions, minnows even in their own country until a decade ago, kept Hearts at bay until a late burst of goals, crowned by Roman Bednar's, put the gloss on this first leg of their Champions' League second qualifying round.

The Edinburgh side will fly to next week's second leg with a healthy advantage. A crowd of 28,486 turned up - 11,000 more than Tynecastle can hold. Butfor long periods Hearts were reminded that you can take nothing for granted when a place among Europe's élite is up for grabs.

Arsenal, Liverpool and possibly Milan could be lying in wait in the third and final qualifying round, which is drawn tomorrow. If group-stage football is a financial and sporting imperative for those giants, think what it would mean to Hearts: dreamland.

After the first 45 minutes last night, make that pipe-dreamland. It took Hearts eight minutes to muster a telling ball and 54 to get on the score sheet. Still, that is nothing compared to the 46 years since they last had a seat at Europe's top table.

The visitors' side had a Samba feel, including four Brazilians. They proved to be more Alan Brazil (2006 version) than Ronaldinho. But they were a match for their hosts initially, and Wagner went close with a curling free-kick.

Branimir Anic handed Hearts the lead with a header into his own net. Michal Pospisil's cross was bundled in by Ibrahim Tall for the second. Bednar pounced on a short back-pass for three.

Heart of Midlothian (4-4-2): Gordon; Neilson, Pressley, Berra, Fyssas; Cesnauskas, Tall, Aguiar (Brellier, 88), McCann (Mikoliunas, 57); Jankauskas (Pospisil, 57)Pospisil, Bednar. Substitutes not used: Banks (gk), Mole, Neill, Driver.

NK Siroki Brijeg (4-4-2): Basic; Anic, Pandza, Landeka, Silic; Bubalo (Doci, 61), Wagner, Carvalho (Papic, 88), Ronielle; Karogan (Kovacic, 83), Celson. Substitutes not used: Vasilj (gk), Doci, , Lukacevic, Kovacic, Studenovic, Dzidic.

Referee: E Bernsten (Norway).

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