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Hearts get baptism of fire in Europa conference return – Sporting Life

 

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Hearts were heavily beaten 4-0 by on-form Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in their opening Europa Conference League match at Tynecastle.

A minute’s silence at the start of the second half was held after news emerged of the Queen’s death.

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The Scottish Premiership club, competing in European group-stage football for the first time in 18 years, had a couple of promising moments in the first half but fell behind in the 26th minute.

Three further goals in the closing quarter of the match for the Turkish side ensured a disappointing evening in the Edinburgh drizzle for the Jambos, who have now lost six of their last seven games in all competitions.

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Manager Robbie Neilson made five changes to the side that started Saturday’s defeat at Livingston as Lewis Neilson, Toby Sibbick, Jorge Grant, Gary Mackay-Steven and Stephen Humphrys were replaced by Nathaniel Atkinson, Michael Smith, Peter Haring, Lawrence Shankland and Alan Forrest.

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Istanbul, on a 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions stretching back to March, travelled to Edinburgh without former Real Madrid, Arsenal and Germany .maker Mesut Ozil, who had suffered from a fever over the past week.

After Basaksehir had controlled possession in the early stages, Hearts had the first chance in the 14th minute when Andy Halliday produced a superb piece of skill to get himself in behind the visitors’ defence but he took too long to get his shot away and the danger was snuffed out.

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