Hibernian 2-0 Heart of Midlothian
Hibernian sealed their first derby win of the season in a convincing display against Hearts to keep up their chase for second spot in a comfortable 2-0 win.
Jason Cummings scored his 15th league goal of the season to reward Hibs’ first half dominance and Farid El Alagui scored his first goal since returning from the Achilles injury which saw him placed on the sidelines for nearly seven months. The visitors arrived in Leith in the mood for a party celebrating their recent Championship title victory, however, they struggled to gain a foothold in a first half dominated by Alan Stubbs’ side.
The impressive Fraser Fyvie fired narrowly over after good hold up play by Cummings, before Hearts defender Callum Paterson headed against his own bar from a teasing Scott Allan set piece in the opening fifteen minutes.
Hearts’ keeper Neil Alexander was forced into action after a curling drive by Cummings as Hibs looked to take advantage of their early dominance.
Cummings was not to be denied minutes later though, as another challenging set play by Allan was only partially cleared by the Hearts defence, before it was headed back in the box by Fyvie, where El Alagui nodded the ball down for Cummings who tucked home in the six yard area to send the Hibees into raptures.
Hibs could have doubled their lead before half time as Captain Liam Fontaine smashed a volley against the bar, leaving Hibs one up at the break.
In response to their disappointing first half performance, Hearts’ head coach Robbie Neilson opted against sticking with a three man defence in his side’s search for an equaliser, and the change did have an effect on his side’s play.
Alim Ozturk blasted a free kick wide of Mark Oxley’s goal, and the keeper on loan from Hull was forced into a good save from Jamie Walker’s rasping strike from 25 yards out.
Hearts again continued to show greater promise in the second half, and looked destined to find an equaliser, however Jordon Forster made an outstanding block from Zeefuik’s goalbound effort as Hibs’ defence refused to be beaten.
From the goalmouth scramble Hibs had the chance to seal the game when they broke three on two, however substitute Dominique Malonga opted to shoot rather than pass to his teammates who found themselves in acres of space.
However Hibs would go onto steal the victory in another counter attack as Hearts piled on the pressure, as Franck Dja Djedje’s lob found El Alagui, who calmly chipped the ball over Alexander and into the back of the net to confirm Hibs would be staying second for another week, and also gain a confidence boosting victory over their biggest rivals.
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