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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

League Cup Quarter Final
Heart of Midlothian scorers: McKenna 67

12/11/2002 | KO: 19:45

McKenna strike knocks Dons out

There is to be no Hampden trip for the Dons in February. A Kevin McKenna strike was enough to see Hearts into the semi-final in a disappointing night at Pittodrie. The game didn't spark into life until after Hearts scored and despite a few close shaves the Dons failed to level. Scott Michie went closest, but McKenzie managed to stick his leg out to keep Hearts in the cup.

As the game got under way it was obvious that underfoot conditions might well have a bearing on this match. The players struggled to keep their footing and there was plenty of surface water on the pitch. Aberdeen won the first corner of the match in the 5th minute and forced a second a minute later. Both caused problems for the visitors, but they eventually cleared safely. Two minutes later it was Hearts who forced two successive corners and the second almost provided the opener. Kjaer was forced into a brilliant stop from a Severin effort then a second attempt was headed off the line.

Hearts were looking dangerous from corners and the 14th minute saw another one whipped in forcing Kjaer to punch clear. Aberdeen were showing neat build up play, but had yet to seriously threaten McKenzie in the Hearts goal. After a promising start the game lost a lot of its impetus with play being restricted to the middle of the park.

Aberdeen had strong claims for a penalty turned down on the half-hour mark when Derek Young appeared to be brought down from behind. Mr. Underhill disagreed and seconds later he booked Young for a stupid challenge as he went to seek revenge. Seconds later Hearts should have taken the lead when Kirk was released, but once again Kjaer made a fine save.

Aberdeen created their best chance in the 35th minute when McGuire and Anderson combined at a Deloumeaux free kick. McGuire headed the ball back across the face of the goal, but Anderson's header went wide of the target. A minute later McAllister went close with a free kick with McKenzie scurrying across his goal line. The Dons should have taken the lead in the 43rd minute when Mackie and Mike combined well to set up Bisconti. Unfortunately the Belgian scooped his effort over the bar when a goal looked easier. Seconds later Mike set up Mackie in a similar position, but his shot went wide as he tried to ride a heavy challenge.

The second half was more or less following the pattern of the first with few clear-cut chances being created. The underfoot conditions certainly weren't helping matters. Aberdeen tried to end the stalemate by introducing Scott Michie in the 55th minute. A minute later it was Rutkiewicz who went close with a looping header that went wide of the target. Michie had his first glimpse of goal in the 58th minute when he collected a Derek Young pass on the edge of the box. Unfortunately he had to turn away from goal before unleashing a shot which was blocked by Pressley.

Both sides began to step up the pace and Scott Severin made a despairing block in the 62nd minute to deny Derek Young. It was Hearts who took the lead in the 67th minute and it was no surprise that it came from a corner. The ball was delivered to the edge of the box and McKenna hit it first time into the roof of the net to stun the home crowd. Aberdeen were not slow to respond and laid siege to the Hearts goal.

In the 72nd minute Aberdeen won a series of corners as they tried to break through. A minute later there were loud appeals for a penalty again when Tiernan went down as he steadied himself to shoot. There looked little in the claim however. Michie looked to have grabbed the equaliser in the 74th minute, but a late outstretched foot from McKenzie denied the youngster. Anderson also went close in the 78th minute when he headed a Bisconti chip inches wide of the target.

In a final roll of the dice Ben Thornley and Darren Young were introduced to the fray in place of Derek Young and Roberto Bisconti. Despite their best efforts the Dons couldn't claw it back and it took a wonderful stop by Kjaer to deny Hearts a second.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Kjaer, Rutkiewicz, Anderson, McGuire, McAllister, Bisconti (Young 84), Tiernan, Young (Thornley 84), Deloumeaux, Mackie, Mike (Michie 55).

Unused Subs: Preece, Billio.

Bookings:  Young (30),  Anderson (85).
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
McKenzie, Maybury, McKenna, Pressley, Severin, Stamp, Kirk (McCann 63), Webster, Wales (Weir 63), Janczyk (McFarlane 76), McMullan. Unused Subs: Gordon, Dunn

Bookings:  Kirk 54,   Weir 85
Attendance: 7,576
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: John Underhill, Edinburgh