Europa League

Red card proves costly as Hearts crash out

Jorge Grant (DB)
Off: Jorge Grant

Hearts 0 FC Zurich 1 (agg: 1-3)
Europa League Play-off, 2nd leg
Tynecastle Park

Ten-man Hearts were left to reflect on what might have been after failing to make the group stages of the Europa League.

The Jambos were streets ahead of their opponents in the first-half but failed to convert any of the many chances they created. Those misses were to prove costly.

With 54 minutes gone, Jorge Grant was sent off, the Hearts man receiving a second yellow for a dive in an attempt to win a penalty.

The dismissal changed the game and 10 minutes from time, Zurich netted the winning goal, Fabian Rohner smashing the ball past Craig Gordon at his near post.

Having dominated the first half so much, it was a sore one for the Edinburgh side to take. While missing out on the additional revenue which comes with qualifying for the Europa League groups, they at least have the consolation of dropping into the group phase of the Europa Conference League.

“The game was there for us,” said Hearts captain Gordon, who was struck by an object thrown from the section containing the Swiss fans in the second half.

“We were by far the better team with 11 men on the pitch. We created chances and had to take one of them. The sending off changed the game – the red card handed the tie to Zurich.”

Off air

BBC Scotland’s television broadcast of the game went off air abruptly midway through the second half.

The broadcaster apologised for the “break in the programme” due to “technical difficulties”, assuring armchair fans that they were “trying to get it back up and running as soon as possible”.

By the time the feed was restored, Hearts fans found that their team had fallen 1-0 behind.

Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Rowles, Kingsley (Sibbick, 78), Forrest (Ginnelly, 64), Devlin (C. Smith, 84) Grant, Cochrane, McKay, Shankland, Boyce (Haring, 63).

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