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Dons Through to Third Qualifying Round : Live

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Dons Through to Third Qualifying Round

July 21, 2016 6:00 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes fielded the same team that started last week at Pittodrie. 

The game kicked off in warm conditions but the temperature was not nearly as hot as Luxembourg which would have been very welcome relief for the Aberdeen players as they made their way onto the field.  
The Dons knew they would face a tough opening period and sure enough the Latvians put some early balls into the box but Taylor and Reynolds looked well prepared for what they were to face this evening. 
Aberdeen won the first corner of the game in the third minute. McGinn’s low ball in found Hayes at the near post area and Jonny flicked the ball on, but before Rooney could get on the end of it, Ventspil’s keeper Uvarenko was able to clutch the ball. 

On 6 minutes a let off for Aberdeen. The ball was cut back to Ritvars Rugins, a clever pass which Taylor could not get on the end of. The Ventspil’s player had time to get a shot away but Joe Lewis was very well positioned to make a save with his chest.  

In the 8th minute Logan went down under a strong challenge from Obuobi inside the area. Shay to his credit never made anything of it and got straight back to his feet to try and regain possession. 

After 12 minutes hesitation within the Aberdeen defence allowed Aleksei Alekseev to nip in behind them, but Lewis was out very quickly and bravely to dive at the feet of the Ventspil’s player. Very good goalkeeping. 

A minute later Hayes and McGinn combined to force a second Aberdeen corner. McLean swung over a ball which Taylor headed just over the bar. There were questions raised about Ventspil’s ability to deal with crosses in the first leg and again they did not look comfortable with the aerial ball.  

The Latvians then won some very soft free kicks. From the second one an excellent ball was headed just over by Girts Karlsons. It was a really good chance for the Ventspil’s top scorer, his first real chance over the two legs. 

On 20 minutes Aberdeen won another corner. The ball bounced up for McGinn at the back post, his header was on target but Uvarenko produced a spetatular dive.

Then another chance for Ventspils, Rugins beat Taylor but his ball across the area was very well defended by Logan.  

On 23 minutes a shot out of nothing from Niall McGinn went just past the far post. It was a great hit with the outside of his left foot, and the early hit completely beat the keeper but was unfortunately just off target. 
Back came the home side. A mistake from Aberdeen allowed Rugins again to run into space. He made his way into the area but his shot was off target. It was a poor effort as he tried to beat Lewis at his near post instead of going across him. 

The game was far too open for Derek McInnes’ liking. Thankfully for the next ten minutes the Dons started to get some control into the game. Just after the half hour mark they very nearly scored. Ryan Jack hit a tremendous shot from distance which crashed off the bar and bounced down. Adam Rooney followed up and headed into the empty net but was flagged offside. 

After 34 minutes the home side put over some good crosses but Taylor and Jack won some important headers. Then a few minutes later Taylor did well to block a shot from Boranijasevic.

On 40 minutes all the good defending was undone when McLean made a rash challenge, the referee waved play on, and then when the ball was played into the area Taylor was adjudged to have fouled Alekseev. The referee pointed to the spot and booked McLean for the earlier tackle. At first glance it looked a very soft decision. Jemelins stepped forward to take it, he put the ball to the keeper’s right, Lewis dived the correct way and got a strong hand on it. A brilliant stop and he made a double save, as the rebound was fired in by Rugins but the English keeper blocked with his legs. Outstanding goalkeeping. 

Ryan Jack took a nasty head knock just before the break but the Dons were able to keep him on until the whistle sounded. 

HT 

Thankfully Ryan Jack reappeared for the second half. The captain played a very important role this evening and managed the midfield excellently. 

Aberdeen started the second half well and McGinn put over a ball which Shinnie headed across goal and Rooney scooped the ball over the bar from close range. However the assistant referee on the far side had his flag up anyway. 

On 49 minutes a McGinn free kick was headed clear, just, and then McGinn did well to make space for a second cross which was unfortunately over hit. On 52 minutes Aberdeen produced a very well worked move. Hayes, Shinnie and Jack worked the ball on the left before Hayes crossed the ball in for Rooney who flicked it on for McLean coming in at the back post but Kenny was just stretching too much and could not keep his shot down.

On 55 minutes the home side also produced a good move and SineInikovs put in a powerful left footed shot but again Lewis was well positioned which allowed him to make the save look comfortable. 

Just a few signs that McGinn and Hayes were finding more space. Rooney did well to find Hayes with a reverse pass that led to a corner. That came to nothing but a few moments later McGinn was taken down in a dangerous area. Niall curled the ball over the wall and it appeared to be heading into the top hand corner but Uvarenko moved his feet quickly to get across his line and produced a very good diving stop. 

Crucially Aberdeen reached the hour mark without conceding.

On 64 minutes the first change – Eduards Tidenbergs who started the first game came on as the home side went for it. 

On 66 minutes another superb stop from Joe Lewis – the best of the night. The ball fell kindly for Paulius who just evaded Jack to the ball. A shot was fired in from 15 yards out and Lewis produced a stunning reflex save, diving to his left. 

Aberdeen then made their first change. Jayden Stockley came on for Niall McGinn. 

In the space of a couple of minutes Shinnie and Lewis were booked for speaking to the referee. The referee was overly fussy all night. 

With fifteen minutes to go the home side had run out of ideas but were getting encouragement from the Dons who could not hold onto the ball. 

However on 78 minutes the tie was finally over. Great play from Hayes who battled down the left and put over a really clever cross behind the defenders. He found Adam Rooney who took his time, as he fired off a low shot which the keeper got a touch to but the ball still landed in the far corner. 

That was Adam’s last involvement. He was replaced by Wes Brown

On 80 minutes Aberdeen should have had a penalty when Stockley was floored from behind but nothing was given. It looked a million times more a penalty than the one that was given in the first half.

On 81 minutes Miles Storey replaced Jonny Hayes. 

In the final ten minutes, with the tie over, the home side’s energy levels not surprisingly dropped. They had all put in a great shift for 80 minutes.

On 82 minutes an Aberdeen corner was headed just over by Stockley. Like last week the big striker had played a major part in changing the game. Aberdeen saw out the remaining minutes comfortably but still worked hard to ensure man of the match Lewis got a deserved clean sheet. 

On 89 minutes the Dons probably should have grabbed a second when Shinnie had two shots on goal. Although he could not beat Uvarenko credit to the Graeme for being in that position in the final minute. They had another chance in stoppage time when Wes Burns just failed to find Storey with a low driven cross. 

The Dons 52nd win in Europe, it was not a classic but a very professional performance in the Europa League.  
 
 

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