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WATCH: ‘Forearm smash’ as brawl ends Hearts vs Almeria friendly before half-time is reached

18:49 WAT 04/12/2022
Hearts Almeria
Hearts took in what was supposed to be a friendly date with Almeria on Sunday, but the game was abandoned following a mass brawl in the first-half.
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WHAT HAPPENED? The interval was approaching when a strong challenge from Hearts left-back Alex Cochrane on Alejandro Pozo led to Rodrigo Ely defending his team-mate, with players and coaches from both teams then getting involved in a series of scuffles. Cochrane and Ely were shown red cards before the decision was taken to bring the contest to a premature conclusion.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Hearts boss Robbie Neilson told Hearts TV afterwards: “It was a very competitive game. All of a sudden on the far side there was a tackle from Alex. I thought it was just a standard tackle, and then all hell broke loose, with their players running around, a forearm smash from their centre-half on Alex. The ref totally lost control of it. The benches were over and there were about 60 people on the pitch. It was just a bit of a shambles. We felt it's a pre-season game, we've already got injuries, there's no point carrying on because tensions were extremely high, to say the least.”

WHAT NEXT? Hearts are in the process of readying themselves for a return to Scottish Premiership action after the winter break, with Neilson’s side – who sit fifth in the table after 15 games - due to face Kilmarnock on December 17.