Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Heart of Midlothian
Saturday 18th August 2018, KO 15:00 | Betfred Cup | East End Park
Hearts qualified for the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup after a tricky game against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park
A resilient Jam Tarts side won the match thanks to a late Olly Lee goal, but Zdenek Zlamal played a major part, producing three very good saves late in the match.
Craig Levein made two changes from the side that superbly defeated Celtic last week in the Ladbrokes Premiership, with Aaron Hughes replacing the injured Christophe Berra, while Steven MacLean started up front ahead of Kyle Lafferty.
Hearts started on the front foot when Jake Mulraney burst past his marker down the right wing and drove into the box. His cutback found Uche Ikpeazu, but the big striker’s shot was saved, and the ball cleared.
The home side came close to taking the lead on 11 minutes, when Ikpeazu was robbed 30 yards from goal. The ball was played through to Faissal El Bakhtaoui, and the forward’s precise shot looked goalbound, but bounced off the right hand post and out.
Ikpeazu was, in customary style, making himself known and had a claim for a penalty when he went to ground following defensive pressure after a Mulraney cross, but referee Bobby Madden waved away any appeals.
The Pars came close again when a superb cross was fired across goal by El Bakhtaoui but Miles Hippolyte failed to connect with it from close range.
Lee then attempted to demonstrate his shooting prowess from distance, but his long-range effort was deflected over for a corner prior to half-time.
Craig Levein shuffled his pack at half-time, bring on Olly Bozanic into midfield in place of the injured Hughes, with Peter Haring moving into the back four alongside John Souttar.
Souttar was booked on 66 minutes for taking down danger man El Bakhtaoui who looked to burst through on goal, before the Moroccan again came close, this time with an acrobatic effort tipped over by Zlamal.
Hearts then brought on Kyle Lafferty for Ikpeazu in an attempt to light a spark up front, and the Northern Irish forward was involved when the breakthrough came.
Souttar was first to a clearance and passed the ball down to Lafferty, who laid the ball off to Steven MacLean. The former St Johnstone striker then slid the ball through to Lee who arrowed home a precise strike into the corner.
It was Zlamal to the rescue again on 88 minutes, when a ball into the box was met by a powerful header but the keeper tipped the ball over the bar in stunning fashion, and the save was bettered in stoppage time when the Czech goalie produced a point blank stop to deny Andy Ryan.
That was the last of the action and the Jambos took their place in the quarter finals after a very tough test, showing fantastic resiliency to get the all important result.
Dunfermline: Robinson, Craigen (Ryan, 87'), J. Longridge, Devine, Durnan, Ashcroft, Williamson, Vincent, El Bakhtaoui, L. Longridge, Hippolyte (Connolly, 81'). Subs: Gill, Morrison, Higginbotham, Thomson, Smith.
Hearts: Zlamal, M. Smith, Souttar, Haring, Lee, Naismith, Hughes (Bozanic, 46'), Garuccio, MacLean, Ikpeazu (Lafferty, 69'), Mulraney (Morrison, 77'). Subs: Doyle, Cochrane, McDonald, Burns.
Referee: Bobby Madden