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<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Anatoly Korobochka <-auth Gavin Mccafferty auth-> Kenny Clark
2 of 006 Marius Zaliukas 81 L SPL A

Hibernian 0 Hearts 1

By Gavin McCafferty, PA Sport

Hearts gatecrashed the Easter Road party to move eight points ahead of CIS Cup winners Hibernian in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

Hibs piled forward in a 10-minute spell early in their first game since winning the trophy but could not sustain the pressure and Marius Zaliukas fired home with nine minutes left to give his side their first Easter Road win since November 2002.

Hibs could have moved ahead of their Edinburgh rivals at St Mirren in midweek if they had won but their chances of finishing above fourth-placed Hearts now look slim.

John Collins made one change to his Hampden line-up with Merouane Zemmama replacing Ivan Sproule.

Hearts brought in Julien Brellier for only his second start of the year along with Kestutis Ivaskevicius and Christos Karipidis in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Michal Pospisil dropped to the bench while Ibrahim Tall and Saulius Mikoliunas missed out through suspension.

Hibs fans taunted their rivals with cut-outs of their new trophy but Hearts made a positive start and Andrew Driver forced Andy McNeil to beat away his powerful strike from the left edge of the area.

Hibs gradually settled and produced a superb move in the 15th minute which brought a good save from Craig Gordon.

Zemmama's quick free-kick found Lewis Stevenson's clever run and Steven Fletcher knocked the youngster's cross into the path of Scott Brown, whose 12-yard strike was palmed away.

The Scotland keeper then caught Fletcher's header from a David Murphy cross and Hibs continued to attack.

Bruno Aguiar cleared Abdessalam Benjelloun's header from the goalmouth and Rob Jones headed over from a second corner inside a minute.

Hibs were spraying the ball around but Murphy and Fletcher both wasted good free-kick opportunities from the edge of the area by shooting harmlessly over.

The pressure subsided before the half-hour mark and Hearts saw more of the ball.

Andrius Velicka muscled his way past several home defenders but could not get enough power in his shot from the right edge of the area.

McNeil was twice forced to backtrack to save the ball going in through miskicks from 30 yards out, first from Murphy as he beat Velicka to a long ball, and then from Karipidis' sliced cross.

Gordon was well-placed to save Stevenson's 25-yard volley at the other end.

Neither side could keep the ball in the opening stages of the second period but Hibs assumed the territorial advantage.

Jones headed over from Murphy's free-kick as team-mate Guillaume Beuzelin challenged for the same ball.

The home fans called for Sproule and the winger replaced Zemmama on the hour mark before Jones headed wide from a difficult angle at another Murphy set-piece.

With Zaliukas and Christophe Berra defending superbly at the centre of the Hearts defence, Sproule's pace on the right seemed Hibernian's best option.

But when the Northern Ireland winger did find his way past the solid Jose Goncalves, he blasted well over from 25 yards.

Hearts looked increasingly comfortable and Zaliukas shot into the bottom corner in the 81st minute after McNeil could only palm a deep Driver free-kick as he and Jones went for the same ball.

Beuzelin shot wide from 20 yards as Hibs threw men forward and Gordon produced a superb diving stop from Sproule in the last minute after a rare error from Zaliukas.

Gordon easily saved Brown's overhead kick before he and his team-mates enthusiastically celebrated their first win at Easter Road for four and a half years.


Hibernian McNeil, Whittaker, Hogg, Jones, Murphy,Zemmama (Sproule 60), Scott Brown, Beuzelin,Stevenson (Stewart 74), Benjelloun, Fletcher (Sowunmi 89).

Subs Not Used: Simon Brown, McCann, Martis, Chisholm.

Booked: Beuzelin.

Hearts Gordon, Karipidis, Zaliukas, Berra, Goncalves,Pilibaitis (Jonsson 66), Aguiar, Brellier, Ivaskevicius,Driver (Fyssas 88), Velicka (Pospisil 77).

Subs Not Used: Banks, Armstrong, Mackie, Kelly.

Booked: Zaliukas, Brellier, Pilibaitis, Driver, Pospisil.

Goals: Zaliukas 81.

Att: 15,953

Ref: K Clarke (Scotland).

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