Hearts ended the Dons unbeaten home run this afternoon and now have further injury concerns ahead of Tuesday's semi-final against Dundee United. Aberdeen struggled to recapture their midweek form as Hearts looked the likelier team to score for most of the match. When the goal did come they didn't have to work too hard for it as Stuart Duff was unlucky with a pass back that was intercepted by the lucky Nade, who was strolling back to an onside position, who in turn calmly slotted the ball past Langfield. It was hard on the Aberdonian who had otherwise looked comfortable after replacing the injured Scott Severin. Derek Young and Jamie Smith were also forced off injured and it will be a race against time to get them fit for Tuesday. Aberdeen launched everything at Hearts in a bid to save the game but the closest they came was a powerful drive from Foster, which looked net bound until Banks made a terrific stop. Langfield also though made four fine stops.
Hearts kicked off and they carved out the first chance in the 3rd minute when Nade beat the offside trap but fired well wide of the target when it looked easier to score. Smith threatened in the 6th minute but he failed to deliver the cross after hitting the bye line. Three minutes later Young had a shot from 25 yards that sailed high over the bar. Smith then carved out some space for himself in the13th minute after being set up by Foster. He hit a fierce shot but it was straight at Banks, who managed to gather at the second attempt. Two minutes later Aberdeen won the first corner of the match and Severin should have done better than head over from six yards.
With 19 minutes gone de Visscher broke into the box but hit a fairly tame effort at Banks and seconds earlier he should have whipped in a cross but tried to work the ball on to his right foot and lost the chance. At the other end Velicka went close and McNamara was forced to clear off the line. Langfield made a poor clearance in the 23rd minute as Hearts enjoyed the better of the play. Derek Young was replaced by Chris Maguire in the 27th minute after picking up an injury and with Severin trying to run off a knock the injury problems were starting to mount.
Maguire had a sniff at goal in the 31st minute after a mistake from Berra, but the youngster was crowded out. At the other end Velicka forced a save from Langfield before Stuart Duff was handed his debut a minute later as Severin was forced to go off, handing the captain's armband to Zander Diamond. Maguire had a snapshot in the 35th minute but it didn't pose to many problems for Banks. Aberdeen were starting to ease themseves into the game now and a good passing move on the edge of the box almost released Maguire but he was crowded out. Duff was looking for a glory start to his Aberdeen career as he attempted a volley from 20 yards, but the ball was only a danger to those sitting in row z.
Hearts were awarded a very soft free kick as Palazuelos simply ran into a crowded area of the pitch. Fortunately they wasted the effort and hit the free kick too long. Goncalves was lucky to escape a yellow card in the 41st minute after a high challenge on Maguire, but the Hearts defender redeemed himself when he cleared the ball as it was fired into the danger area. Considine was not so fortunate as he collected the first yellow of the game three minutes later. From the subsequent free kick Langfield was forced to scramble a Velicka overhead kick away to keep the score sheet blank at the interval.
Aberdeen went close in the 48th minute as they broke quickly and Maguire fed the ball through for Smith but Banks was out quick to save at his feet. A minute later Nicholson drilled in a shot from 20 yards but it went high over. Langfield saved the day in the 51st minute when Velicka fired a powerful shot from a tight angle. Hearts were enjoying a good spell at this stage, but it was a mistake from Duff that gifted them the lead. The debut boy attempted to play the ball back to Langfield, but it was too short and Nade pounced to score. Hearts almost doubled their lead a minute later when Mikoliunas was given a sight of goal.
Aberdeen thought they had levelled in the 59th minute when Maguire and Smith combined on the right and as Maguire drilled in the cross Miller turned the ball past Banks only to be flagged offside in what looked a tight decision. Berra was booked for persistent fouling in the 63rd minute and the Hearts defence were under pressure now and they were forced to scramble the ball clear as Duff looked to make up for his mistake. Steve Lovell replaced Jamie Smith in the 68th minute as Aberdeen made their last change. Velicka almost killed the game a minute later when he held off Considine and fired inches over.
Lovell was crowded out by Berra in the 76th minute and a minute later a free kick on the edge of the box was rolled to Nicholson buy he drilled it wide. At the other end substitute Beniusis set up Karipidis and it took a trailing foot from Langfield to prevent a second goal. Ten minutes from the end Mikoliunas was booked as he took a dive inside the box in an attempt to win a spot kick. Diamond joined the attack in the 83rd minute and ended up with a knock to the head that required lengthy treatment. A corner a minute later was wasted and at the other end Beniusis tested Langfield who was up to the task.
Aberdeen looked to have levelled in the 87th minute when a pile driver from Foster looked net bound before Banks pulled of an incredible save to turn the ball round the post. Aberdeen laid siege on the Hearts goal as the fourth official signalled five minutes of injury time. A late free kick was punched clear by Banks and the Hearts defence worked hard to keep the Dons at bay as they went back down the road with all three points. Aberdeen now head to Tynecastle on Tuesday night having lost their unbeaten home run and with further injury worries to contend with.