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Anatoly Korobochka <-auth COLLEEN PATERSON auth-> Rene Kunsleben
[Lefa Tsutsulupa 34]
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Jonsson works hard for his future

23 July 2007
Hearts 0 - 1 Moroka Swallows
EGGERT JONSSON started two games in the space of less than 24 hours for Hearts in Germany at the weekend, and the Icelander hopes his inclusion in the sides that faced Heracles and Moroka Swallows signals the start of a season which will see him force his way into the first team on a regular basis.

The 18-year-old Icelander, who has been on Hearts' books for two years, played the full 90 minutes against the Dutchmen on Friday night before lining up against The Birds on Saturday afternoon.

He was taken off at half time against Swallows after suffering from a tight hamstring, but he did enough over the 135 minutes of football played to suggest that he can more than hold his own at first-team level.

And he's hoping his assured performances will not have gone unnoticed among the coaching staff.

He said: "I was in the full squad a few times last year and managed to play a few times, mostly off the bench, and I'm just hoping that I can keep improving and add to that this season.

"I came to the club when I was 16 and I've been here for two years and it has got to be my aim to break into the team on a regular basis.

"I played on Friday night and scored a goal against Heracles and I just have to hope that the coaches were pleased with me and that I did enough to convince them to keep me involved with the first team.

"I've been working hard and if I continue to do that then hopefully I will get my chance."

A number of injuries took their toll on Hearts, with Larry Kingston, Saul Mikoliunas, and Deividas Cesnauskis among those who were unavailable after suffering knocks.

The Tynecastle side made ten changes to the team which defeated Heracles 5-1, with Craig Gordon, Christophe Berra, Marius Zaliukas, Juho Makela and Michael Stewart all taking a place on the bench.

The match was played at Meschede's home ground, where Hearts had spent the previous week training, and it was a bizarre setting when the two teams walked out to the sound of the church bells tolling.

A group of local scouts added to the atmosphere though, cheering every touch from either side and even starting their own mini Mexican wave amongst themselves on the far side of the stadium. Swallows created the first chance when a ball down the right set Ivan Winstanley free, but his ball across the face of goal was blocked by keeper Steve Banks.

Hearts mopped up the loose ball and broke straight down the park through Gary Glen, but his attempted cross into the middle was cut out by George Hummel before Branimar Kostadinov could connect. At the other end Alton Meiring had a shot on the turn sent behind for a corner after a deflection off Ryan McGowan. The resulting kick was whipped back in by Cecil Oerson and headed on in the area by Tshweu Mokoro, only for Jonsson to knock it away for another corner that also came to nothing.

The closest Hearts came to a goal in the opening stages was when Matthew Park won an aerial challenge with Winstanley to knock the ball down to Glen in the middle. He laid it off for trialist Rui Baiao but the Portuguese could only fire wide of the keeper's left-hand post and it now looks unlikely that he will be offered a chance to extend his stay at Tynecastle.

They had another opening just a couple of minutes later when Baiao stepped away from two Swallows defenders and got a bit of luck as his shot deflected into the path of Kostadinov, but when he pulled the trigger Winstanley did enough to get in the way and send it behind for a corner kick.

Dumitru Copil, Hearts' talented Romanian youngster, took it from the keeper's left and swung it straight into the six-yard box, but Aubrey Mathibe was always favourite to collect from a weak header by Glen. Baiao was becoming more involved as the match went on and he had a hand in Hearts' next attack. He picked up from Park and cut the ball in close to the byline where Glen was waiting at the front post, but unfortunately for the Tynecastle side his glancing header took it across the goalmouth instead of into it. The only goal of the game came when Sean Mackle played the ball out of defence and straight into the body of Lefa Tsutsulupa, allowing the South Africans to break forward through Cecil Oerson. When his cross was sent behind by Robbie Neilson it won them a crucial corner.

It was their third from Banks' left and this time it paid off when Oerson floated the ball into the box and Tsutsulupa rose to send a downward header into the net.

They could have doubled their lead a couple of minutes later. Mark Hanskins burst through the middle and played in Meiring, only for Banks to rush off his line to narrow the angle and block the shot.

The Jambos made three changes at the half-time break , bringing on Berra, Makela and Stewart to replace Jonsson, Glen and Lee Wallace, who spent much of last week suffering from a virus.

The Birds came close to their second when Tshweu Mokoro saw team-mate Meiring in the middle and he let fly with a shot that left Banks helpless, but it was just a yard wide of the keeper's left-hand post. Hearts almost scored late in the game when Stewart floated a free-kick deep into the box. Berra met it but his header was wide of the mark.

Assistant manager Stephen Frail was not overly concerned by the result and was pleased with the workout his young players had been given by the South Africans.

He said: "The players looked a bit tired, it was a young team. Obviously we wanted to win the game but we are not too concerned by the scoreline. They're a decent side, they passed the ball well and had good movement, they were athletic and strong. It was a good test for the young lads.

"I thought that second half we started to keep the ball a bit better and they worked really hard."

Hearts: Banks, Neilson, Wallace (Stewart 46), Jonsson (Berra 46), McGowan, Mackle, Copil, Baiao, Kostadinov, Glen (Makela 46), Park. Subs: Pospisil, Gordon, Berra, Zaliukas, Makela, Stewart.

Moroka Swallows: Mathibe, Winstanley, Hanskins, Mazibuko, Hummel, Kasinauyo, Oerson, Mayinga, Tsutsulupa, Mokoro, Meiring.

Referee: Rene Kunsleben.

Taken from the Scotsman

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