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<-Page <-Team Thu 28 Sep 2006 Sparta Prague 0 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth David Mccarthy And Gary Ralston auth-> Peter Sippel
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UEFA CUP CRUNCH... Murrayfield made Hearts fall apart says Czech ace
By David Mccarthy And Gary Ralston

SPARTA PRAGUE striker Miroslav Matusovic last night rubbed salt in Hearts' wounds by insisting the Jambos blew it by moving their UEFA Cup first-leg clash from Tynecastle.

The Czechs strolled to a 2-0 victory at atmosphere-less Murrayfield two weeks ago and expect to complete the job in Prague tomorrow night.

Matusovic admitted he thought the Scots would have provided a much sterner test for his team in Edinburgh and while he made the usual noises about the tie not being over, the Sparta attacker is clearly very confident.

He said: "I was surprised by Hearts' performance. We expected a tough game, with lots of tackles flying in, but that didn't really happen.

"We tried not to let them into the match by playing one-touch football and avoiding contact but we were still surprised it was so comfortable for us.

"I don't think Murrayfield helped Hearts at all. A stadium for 60,000 people with only 25,000 fans in it creates a strange atmosphere and that was to our advantage."


Matusovic reckons Hearts have no option but to attack but he was adamant his team will not just sit and defend their lead.

He said: "It will be a much harder game in Prague. I have to stress the fact that the tie is not decided yet.

"After losing the first leg 2-0, they will have to think about attacking and that will be a challenge for us. We will try to play a more careful game because we are two goals up but it would also be suicidal if we relied solely on defence.

"We want to win and play well because we don't want to disappoint our supporters. We will not just stand in our penalty area and defend.

"We have conceded two goals at our stadium against weaker opponents than Hearts so we cannot think our job is already done.

"We have not singled out any Hearts players for special attention. Of course the two Czechs, Michal Pospisil and Roman Bednar, will be very motivated but it would be our mistake if we focused only on them. The whole Hearts team has good qualities."

Target Matusovic has another reason for wanting to do well - he wants his next move to be to Britain and is hoping to catch the eye of any scouts watching.

He added: "When I signed for Sparta, the next target in my career was to play in a foreign league.It would be good if I could go to England or Scotland."

There is further bad news for Hearts - Sparta misfit Mauro Lustrinelli has finally found his shooting boots.

The Swiss international striker had scored only three goals since moving to the Czech Republic from FC Thun in January but he has netted four times in Sparta's last two games after being given a rocket by coach Michal Bilek for not working hard enough for the team.

Lustrinelli, 30, who played in the World Cup finals, was one of Sparta's most expensive signings when he joined them in a near £1 million deal.

He impressed playing against the Czechs in the Champions League last year as part of a Thun team that also included crocked Jambos defender Jose Goncalves.

But Lustrinelli only got a five-minute run-out as a sub at Murrayfield and has failed to impress until now.

He had clear-the-air talks with Bilek after the Jambos clash a fortnight ago and has since hit doubles in a 6-0 romp in the Czech Cup against Bystrc and in a 3-0 league win at the weekend over Ceske Budejovice.

Lustrinelli said: "The goals I've scored recently have been important for me psychologically. It was a bad time when the coach told me I wasn't working hard enough.

"We discussed a few things after the first game in Scotland but, for me, it wasn't about words.

"My vocabulary is made up of goals and these four goals are my best answer as people can hopefully see I'm working hard on behalf of Sparta.

"I thought I'd be on of the top two strikers when I first arrived at the club, but recently it felt as if I was third or fourth choice. Hopefully, that situation has now changed."

Sparta have sold 10,000 tickets and a crowd of around 15,000 is expected.

Taken from the Daily Record

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