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Europa League: Hearts advance after victory in Tallinn

Europa League qualifying Infonet v Hearts Igor Rossi scores his side's fourth goal
Image: Igor Rossi scored twice for Hearts in Estonia

A stunning display from Jamie Walker inspired a comfortable 4-2 win for Hearts against FC Infonet in Estonia on Wednesday, as Robbie Neilson's men teed up a Europa League second qualifying round clash against Maltese outfit Birkirkara.

The winger was directly involved in every one of the Jambos' goals, with the hosts incapable of dealing with his wicked delivery and the Scottish capital club's physicality as Hearts tied up a 6-3 aggregate victory in the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

Goals from Callum Paterson, Alim Ozturk and Igor Rossi effectively ended the tie as a contest by the interval, before Rossi claimed his second after the break.

Infonet claimed some consolation through an Ozturk own goal and a fine Vladimir Voskoboinikov volley but the visitors advanced to next week's tie against Birkirkara with the first leg in Malta on Thursday, July 14.

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After a poor performance at Tynecastle last week, Neilson changed his personnel and formation.

Jamie Walker of Hearts, Infonet away in Europa League
Image: Jamie Walker had a part in all four Hearts' goals

Juanma, Sam Nicholson and John Souttar made way for Perry Kitchen, Liam Smith and Rossi as the Jambos lined up in a 4-3-3, rather than the ineffectual 4-4-2 of six days earlier.

Paterson, meanwhile, was deployed as a wide forward and the Scotland international illustrated his attacking prowess by giving the visitors the lead with less than two minutes on the clock.

Walker's corner was perfect and, with young goalkeeper Matvei Igonen flailing, Paterson powered a clinical header into the net from six yards.

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The lead on the night was doubled six minutes later when Walker found Rossi at the back post with a deep free-kick, leaving the Brazilian with the simple task of nodding the ball past Igonen.

Paterson, thriving in a more advanced role, shot just wide after bursting onto the box, before a trademark Ozturk free-kick from 25 yards was nervously pushed wide by Igonen.

Conor Sammon then passed up a golden opportunity to claim his first goal for Hearts after meeting an Arnaud Djoum delivery as the Irishman's header drifted wide.

Only some desperate defending from Aleksandr Dmitrijev stopped Djoum from making it 3-0 as he threw himself in front of a goalbound effort.

Europa League qualifying - Hearts' Alim Ozturk (second right) celebrates his goal with his team-mates
Image: Hearts captain Alim Ozturk (second right) celebrates his goal with his team-mates

It proved to be a temporary reprieve, though, as another magnificent Walker corner-kick on the stroke of half-time found the head of Rossi, whose flick-on was converted by skipper Ozturk.

Infonet claimed a well-worked consolation after the break when Aleksandr Volodin surged down the right flank and delivered a super low cross, which Ozturk could only turn into his own net.

Those celebrations were short-lived, however, as just 60 seconds later the hosts were again failed to defend a Walker free-kick, allowing Rossi to fire home in the ensuing scramble.

Infonet continued to press and scored again on the hour mark when Voskoboinikov volleyed home at the back post but it made no difference to the overall outcome of the contest.

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