Bordeaux rip Hearts' UEFA dream apart

Hearts 0-2 Bordeaux (Bordeaux win 2-1 on agg)

Hearts 0-2 Bordeaux (Bordeaux win 2-1 on agg)

Hearts saw their UEFA Cup dream ripped apart in front of their own supporters by Bordeaux.

Goals from Albert Riera and Pascal Feindouno ensured Michel Pavon’s men would be in the draw for the third round instead of Hearts.

Hearts went into the game knowing a place in that draw was within their grasp after Mark de Vries grabbed an away goal in the shock win at Bordeaux three weeks ago.

Progress would have seen Hearts enjoy their best run in Europe since 1989 when they were narrowly dumped out of the quarter-final by Bayern Munich.

Head coach Craig Levein was applauded for the tactics he employed in the first leg but faced problems before the return leg in Edinburgh even kicked off.

Captain Steven Pressley hobbled out of Sunday’s derby win over Hibernian with a thigh strain and the resulting two-week lay-off meant he was missing for one of Hearts’ biggest games in over a decade.

The captain’s armband went to Alan Maybury, while his place in the team was handed to Andy Webster.

Hearts started the game enthusiastically and Jean Louis Valois forced goalkeeper Ulrich Rame into a decent save after just five minutes.

Bur two minutes later, Hearts saw their advantage wiped out when Valois gifted possession to Jean-Claude Darcheville and he fed the ball through to Albert Riera to drive home from 25 yards.

Bordeaux almost doubled that lead soon after when the ball broke to Darcheville from a corner and he smacked his shot off the crossbar.

There was more bad news for Hearts Paul Hartley clashed with Riera after 29 minutes and had to be carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Scott Severin.

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon was forced into a great save to prevent Bordeaux doubling their lead. Feindouno bulleted a shot at goal and Gordon did well to push the effort onto the post.

With five minutes remaining of the first half, the home fans were in an uproar when a Mark de Vries ball appeared to come off the hand of Franck Jurietti only for penalty appeals to be turned down.

Then Jurietti was at the centre of another penalty claim seconds before Stamp had the ball in the back of the net – only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for off-side.

Both managers used the half-time interval to make changes. Neil MacFarlane made way for Stephen Simmons, while Riera was replaced by Paulo Costa for Bordeaux.

De Vries was unfortunate after an hour when he was denied a goal by a great save from Rame.

Stamp played the ball to Simmons whose overhead kick was well off target but the ball fell to the feet of de Vries only for his effort to be blocked at the post.

Instead it was Bordeaux who found the back of the net soon after to leave Hearts with a mountain to climb. Feindouno rattled the ball home from just inside the 18-yard box, leaving Gordon with no chance.

Hearts could have hauled themselves back into the tie a couple of minutes later when Valois found Stamp in front of goal but he fired well over the crossbar from six yards.

Impressive goalkeeping once again left Hearts frustrated as the game entered the final 20 minutes when Simmons saw his great strike kept out by a superb save from Rame.

Two minutes later, Levein made his final substitution when he replaced Valois with Andy Kirk in a desperate search for the goals that would keep alive their UEFA Cup hopes.

He had a chance when he met a Robbie Neilson cross with a diving header but only succeeded in nodding the ball across the face of goal and the danger was cleared.

But it was too little to late as Hearts’ run in Europe came to an end.

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