Robbie Neilson laments Hearts' collapse as Istanbul Basaksehir leave Tynecastle happy

Robbie Neilson could only lament aspects of Hearts’ 4-0 Europa Conference League defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir, admitting that his team fell out of the game during the second half.

Hasan Ali Kaldirim’s sublime first-half strike preceded three goals after the break from Youssouf Ndayishimiye, Stefano Okaka and Berkey Ozcan to consign the Edinburgh club to defeat in their opening Group A tie.

“We’re disappointed,” stated Neilson. “To be honest, I thought in the first half we played really well, I was pleased. I thought we were in the game and we lost a really disappointing goal.

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“Even at the start of the second half we were in it and then we lost the second goal and we went to pot. They started to show their quality because we became so open. We started chasing the game.

“I think it is a learning curve for us all as players, as staff and as a club that, when it goes to 2-0, we keep our shape, stay compact and stay in the game.

“As soon as it goes three and four it becomes a different game and at the end there we just couldn’t get close to them because the game was so open. They got confidence and they started popping the ball about.

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“We were really, really pleased with the first half because I think we showed we can compete against a top team – because they are a top team.

“In the second half we need to learn that, when things go against you, we need to keep that compactness and we make sure we don’t fall out of the game as quickly as we did.”

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Robbie Neilson watches Hearts lose 4-0 at home to Istanbul Basaksehir.

A Peter Haring header was cleared off the Basaksehir goal line by defender Leo Duarte with the scoreline still blank. Scoring first would have given Hearts real confidence.

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“At this level you get two or three chances in a game and, had we taken that first opportunity with the header, it’s a different game,” said Neilson. “It’s all ifs and buts. Again, it’s a big learning curve for us all.

“We want to be a team that competes regularly at this level and tonight we competed for 45-50 minutes. After that, I don’t think we did.

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“That was down to two things: Us losing our shape but also down to the opposition having real quality and starting to take the game away from us.

“So it was a disappointing outcome at the end of the game and a disappointing last 30 minutes. But prior to that I was proud of the players.”

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Emre Belozoglu, the Basaksehir coach, praised his side for controlling the game. “We did very well and I am very happy about that. We dominated the game as I said we would yesterday,” he said.

“My players were very well organised and very well motivated. We are happy with the result. We want to continue like that. Before we came into the group stage we played too many good teams. We played with the same gameplan and I am very happy with tonight.”

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