Neilson breathes life into Hearts' European dream

Basle 1 - Heart of Midlothian 2
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The Independent Online

Robbie Neilson's last-gasp goal gave Hearts' hopes of remaining in the Uefa Cup a massive shot in the arm against Basle last night.

Robbie Neilson's last-gasp goal gave Hearts' hopes of remaining in the Uefa Cup a massive shot in the arm against Basle last night.

The Tynecastle side took the lead through Dennis Wyness but they thought they would have to settle for a point when César Carignano equalised with 14 minutes left. But the match took another twist when Neilson fired in the winner with just one minute remaining.

Hearts' opening two games, against Feyenoord and Schalke, had left them without a point and defeat would have effectively ended their Uefa Cup campaign.

Basle dominated the early stages, and the Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon had to be at his best to maintain parity. He produced a superb double save after 18 minutes, first stopping a long-range shot from Matias Delgado and then smothering Julio Rossi's header from the rebound.

Hearts rallied and Michael Stewart went close before Wyness broke the deadlock after 31 minutes from six yards out.

Gordon then pulled off another superb save to keep out Scott Chipperfield's diving header. Carignano fired in an equaliser from eight yards out moments later. Just when Hearts thought they would be forced to settle for a point, they left Basle reeling by taking the lead again with a minute to go.

Basle: Zuberbühler; Zwyssig, Huggel, Sterjovski (David Degen ,71), Chipperfield, Giménez, Kléber, Delgado (Barberis, 84), Philipp Degen, Smiljanic, Rossi (Carignano, 62). Substitutes not used: Quennoz, Mandl.

Hearts: Gordon; Neilson, Pressley, Webster, Maybury, Hamill, Stewart (MacFarlane, 69), McAllister, Wyness, de Vries (Weir, 85), Pereira (Stamp, 66). Substitutes not used: Moilanen, Janczyk, Sloan, Berra.

Referee: K Jakobsson (Iceland).

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