Aberdeen slipped to defeat in the capital, two VAR decisions pivotal in deciding the outcome as the Dons had a goal chalked off in a first half which they dominated.
There was one change to the Aberdeen team that drew at St Johnstone on Wednesday night, Richard Jensen replacing the injured Slobodan Rube i . Jack Milne was added to the substitutes.
After coming back from behind to beat Dundee 3-2 on Tuesday night, Hearts made three changes with Craig Halkett, Aidan Denholm and Kenneth Vargas on the bench, replaced by Jorge Grant, Youtaro Oda and Alan Forrest.
After Hearts had celebrated their 150th anniversary before kick-off, Aberdeen made a sprightly start. On four minutes there was a good break, Bojan Miovski and Graeme Shinnie bringing the ball out to Dante Polvara, his curling cross to the back post just in front of the diving Leighton Clarkson. Clarkson had a first time shot blocked five minutes later after good work down the right by Nicky Devlin.
Shinnie was instrumental in much that was good about Aberdeen’s start and his driving run on 17 minutes ended with a dangerous cross that Miovski headed over from ten yards out.
Clark soon had his first work to do, McGrath getting up to head a misdirected clearance, but he couldn’t get enough power on it to discomfort the goalkeeper after 22 minutes.
Aberdeen seemed to have got the goal their start deserved on 25 minutes though, another glorious finish from Miovski. He won the ball initially 40 yards out and found Polvara who fed Connor Barron. He charged down the right and picked out Miovski inside the right edge of the box. He shaped his shot around Clark and into the far corner.
But VAR intervened. The referee took a while at the pitch side monitor and eventually chalked off the goal, for a foul on Baningime, who went down when he ran across Miovski some 25 yards out.
Aberdeen weren’t dismayed and within a couple of minutes, Polvara had driven a shot just wide from 30 yards out, Clark grateful to see it go past the post. Shinnie then went into the book on 31 for a foul on Oda.
Grant had Hearts’ first real effort on 38 minutes after a slick move, but he diverted his 20 yarder well wide of Kelle Roos’ goal. Kingsley then put a 25yard free-kick over the top of the goal five minutes later.
The Dons responded, Shinnie the creator again in the final minute of the half, finding Clarkson just inside the box, but he pulled his shot just wide of the target. Moments later, he put a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.
Aberdeen the better team in the first half, dominating the midfield area, but no goals to show for their good work.
HALF-TIME: HEARTS 0 ABERDEEN 0
Aberdeen made another strong start to the second half, loud claims for a penalty from a free-kick after 49 minutes, but there was nothing given, quite rightly. There were similar claims from Hearts four minutes later as a fierce cross cannoned into Devlin’s hand. This time the referee was again sent to look at the monitor and Hearts were given a penalty. Grant was given the responsibility from 12 yards and he buried his effort it into the top corner.
Forrest almost doubled the advantage on the hour, a ferocious shot from the right corner of the box arrowing towards the top corner until Roos was up to tip the ball behind, a fine save.
Devlin was in with a real opportunity on 64, good work from McGrath and then Polvara putting him in behind, but in position to repeat his Clyde goal, he didn’t connect with this shot and Clark saved. Duk then replaced Polvara a minute later.
Roos had to produce another terrific save on 66 minutes, Shankland in space to club a shot goal wards from inside the D, Roos pushing it wide. Oda was then booked for a late foul on Jack MacKenzie.
On 70 minutes, the next change saw Ester Sokler and Shayden Morris come on for McGrath and Barron while Hearts introduced Vargas for Oda. A minute later, Stefan Gartenmann limped off to be replaced by Angus MacDonald. Duk was then booked for remonstrating with the referee following his challenge on Lembikisa where he looked to have won the ball.
It was 2-0 for the home side on 77 minutes, Shankland producing a fine finish with the outside of the foot from the edge of the area, the ball arcing around Roos and in. Hearts then made another switch on 82, Grant replaced by Tait.
A glimpse of a chance arrived on 83 minutes, the ball reaching Duk at the back post, but his drive at goal was blocked by Shankland. At the other end, Vargas poked a snapshot at goal from just inside the area, but thankfully it speared wide of goal on 87 minutes.
As we headed into added time, next, it was MacKenzie dancing into the Hearts box only to see his effort at goal blocked, the last meaningful moments of the game.
3 minutes added at end 1st half.
5 minutes added at end 2nd half.