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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Robert Martin auth-> Eddie Smith
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32 of 032 Bruno Aguiar 41 L SPL A

Hibernian 1-1 Hearts

ROBERT MARTIN at Easter Road

Published: 20 Oct 2008

BETWEEN them Derek Riordan and Bruno Aguiar have spent the best part of three years in football hell.

Yesterday they were both in derby HEAVEN — but it still wasn’t enough to earn their sides the three points in another pulsating Capital clash.

Riordan got to wondering when he would ever play again as he languished at Celtic.

Aguiar feared he wouldn’t when he was out for 18 months with an ankle injury.

But here they both showed what the game had been missing with standout performances as the game raged all around them.

Both were involved in their sides’ goals and both missed chances to claim the winner in a remarkable closing period.

And both looked absolutely knackered as they shook hands at the end with honours even and the two sides a point better off than they were at the start of the day.

That was about right. Hibs had the better of the first half, Hearts the second.

And if chances had been taken it could have been 5-5.

Both managers made their intentions clear in their line-ups with Mixu Paatelainen choosing to go with Riordan, Colin Nish and Steven Fletcher in a mouthwatering front three.

But Csaba Laszlo was just as bold as he decided to hand Andrew Driver his first start in six weeks — and Aguiar his first for a year and a half.


Christian Nade was asked to play the lone striker role while Christos Karipidis sat in front of his back four to let Aguiar and Michael Stewart push on.

But that gameplan lasted just 78 SECONDS as Hibs’ attacking trio ripped the Jambos backline to shreds.

Nish fed Riordan, who in turn played him in behind Marius Zaliukas with an audacious backheel. And when he pulled the ball back across goal Fletcher was on hand to turn the ball home from only four yards out.

It was a brilliant goal and showed exactly why Paatelainen was so keen to get Hibs-daft Deek back to Easter Road.

And it also left Hearts and Laszlo needing to strike back with only one forward on the park.

Captain Christophe Berra very nearly brought them back into the game in the sixth minute when his header from Driver’s cross came back off keeper Yves Ma-Kalambay’s crossbar.

But every time Hibs went forward they looked dangerous. Riordan drove into the side netting in the seventh minute after Hearts failed to deal with a simple cross.

Steven Thicot, though, almost gifted Hearts a way back into the game with a slack pass straight to Laryea Kingston, whose ball played in Nade.

Ma-Kalambay rushed out to clear but the ball then broke back to Kingston, who failed to hit the target with the keeper well out of his goal.

Berra was booked in the 12th minute for hauling down Nish as the rain began to hammer down on the Easter Road surface.

And Riordan showed that his confidence was sky-high when he tried his luck with a free-kick from 40 yards that landed a foot wide of Marian Kello’s right hand post.

Kingston’s influence on the game was also growing and the Ghana midfielder picked out Nade again in the 23rd minute although the striker’s shot was tame.

But Jambos keeper Kello put his side in trouble soon after when he cleared the ball straight to Riordan, who initially miscontrolled and then went down under a challenge from Eggert Jonsson.

The Hibs man appealed for a penalty and had every right to but ref Eddie Smith was having none of it and waved aside his pleas.

And seconds later he was waving a yellow card at Hibs skipper Rob Jones after the defender had gone crashing into the back of Nade.

As half-time approached Hearts started to get the better of things with Aguiar blazing over after the ball broke to him 14 yards out.

He showed far more composure when presented with a free-kick a yard outside the Hibs box four minutes before the interval.

Nish’s barge on Lee Wallace was both careless and unnecessary and put his side in trouble.

And Aguiar took full advantage as he curled a low right-foot shot around a less than firm Hibs wall and into the bottom left-hand corner of Ma-Kalambay’s net.

Nish stood with his head in his hands as the Portuguese midfielder raced straight to the Hearts bench and embraced physio Rob Marshall, the man who had helped him back to full fitness.

But the gesture also earned him a yellow card from ref Smith as he had left the pitch in order to do so.

Hearts were then forced to change KEEPER at the interval with Kello, who had taken a knock in a collision with Nish, being replaced by Hungarian Janos Balogh.

It was his first appearance for the club and the on-loan Debrecen man looked nervy as he bundled a Riordan header around his post for a corner.

But a searing run by Driver on 66 minutes soon had Hibs on the back foot again and when the winger’s shot took a deflection Ma-Kalambay could only parry it aside.

Kingston was following in and sent the rebound towards goal but Lewis Stevenson managed to throw himself in the way to block the effort. Balogh saved well from Riordan in the 71st minute as the Hibs man tried to copy Aguiar by putting his free-kick in exactly the same spot as the Jambos player.

The keeper did even better to beat away another effort from the striker shortly afterwards as he tried to beat him at his near post.

And as the game entered its final stage both sides had chances to go on and win it.

Fletcher grazed the top of Balogh’s bar with six minutes to go after Nish had nodded down Stevenson’s cross into his path.

Then Aguiar somehow missed his kick in front of goal after Driver had found him unmarked just eight yards out.

In the final seconds Balogh did brilliantly to steal the ball from Riordan after Zaliukas’s dreadful pass had accidentally played him in on goal.

And Nade then bettered everything that had gone before as he turned the ball over from Driver’s cross with the goal gaping.

The Sun

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