Dons Clinch Uefa Spot In Style
Aberdeen are back in Europe after they brushed Rangers aside at Pittodrie to record a 2-0 win that left Hearts trailing at the finishing post. Scott Severin opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a superb low volley that left McGregor well beaten. Steve Lovell then crashed a volley of the bar in the 29th minute before adding a second three minutes later. He was played through on the left and lifted the ball over the keeper to send the red army delirious. Aberdeen held on comfortably in the second half to return Aberdeen back into Europe next season. Following the departure of the away support the players came back onto the pitch to enjoy the atmosphere after this famous win.
It was a colourful scene that greeted the players at Pittodrie and the match was delayed several minutes to clear blue tape from the field of play. Lovell was released on the left in the second minute but was quickly closed down then Adam had the first shot a minute later but it slipped tamely wide. Mackie then found a bit of space in the 4th minute but Papac charged down his shot before a Nicholson cross was scrambled clear of the danger area. Two minutes later Miller won a free kick 40 yards out. The ball was rolled to Severin but his shot was blocked inside the penalty area. Rangers attempted to break in the 9th minute but Foster was immense as he cut the ball out.
A minute later Anderson had to look smart to deny Boyd and concede the first corner of the match. The whole team then worked hard to defend the threat as the visitor’s began to apply some pressure. Aberdeen won their first corner in the 13th minute but Nicholson’s delivery was poor and the ball was easily cleared. Aberdeen continued to press and a Severin throw caused panic for Rangers in what was proving to be a frantic match. There was controversy in the 17th minute when Anderson guided a ball out for a goal kick only for the officials to award a corner. Fortunately the threat was easily defended only for Smith to be penalised 40 yards out a minute later.
Aberdeen grabbed a sensational lead in the 21st minute when a ball into the penalty area was cleared by Weir. The ball was cushioned into the path of Scott Severin 25 yards out and he won’t hit a sweeter volley in his career as the ball ripped past McGregor and into the back of the net. The game erupted in the 24th minute when Lovell was involved in a chase for the ball. McGregor had to leave his box to clear. Lovell had every right to go for the ball and although McGregor went down he was up quickly but he took umbrage, as did Weir, to the challenge and Weir went straight into Lovell’s face. Once the dust had settled Lovell was booked along with McGregor and Weir somehow escaped punishment.
Aberdeen were turning up the heat now and a Severin shot went inches over despite being caught late by Thomson. Two minutes later Lovell hit a perfect volley under pressure only for the ball to come crashing off the cross bar with McGregor beaten. In between Novo collected the third yellow card of the game as the meaty tackles continued unabated. Pittodrie then erupted in the 32nd minute as Steve Lovell made it 2-0. Rangers appeared to switch off as a ball was played through to Lovell who beat McGregor to the ball and chipped it over the keeper and into the net. Aberdeen were certainly pumped up for this and referee Thomson had a word with both Severin and Anderson about hefty challenges. Rangers threatened in the 40th minute when Novo fired the ball across goal, but the Dons defence easily mopped it up.
A minute later Boyd headed wide as the visitor’s tried to get a foothold in the game. Hart was then yellow carded in the 43rd minute for a challenge from behind after another late challenge on him before Mackie was penalised for a challenge on the edge of the box. From the subsequent free kick Charlie Adam was inches wide with Langfield scrambling across the goal. Deep in injury time Hart was taken out of the play late by Adam and despite the assistant being yards from the incident it went unpunished and unpenalised. Thomson even refused the player treatment and demanded that play continue. The half eventually ended and Hart had to be helped off the pitch.
It was a quiet start to the second half after the frantic pace of the opening forty five minutes with neither side taking control. Michael Hart was still struggling as was Lee Miller who had been caught late in the first half. Touzani and Brewster replaced both in the 52nd minute before Gavin Rae took a theatrical dive in the Aberdeen box, but failed to trick the officials. Foster was taken out late on the edge of the box but no foul was given as the Dons went on to win a corner. The set play was easily defended as the game became turgid after the excitement of the first half. In the 62nd minute Boyd was booked for a late challenge on Diamond and two minutes later Lennon replaced the striker.
Rangers went close from a soft free kick as Touzani was forced to clear for a corner. Aberdeen then defended the set play well and forced their way forward. Aberdeen appeared happy to defend their lead at this stage and Chris Burke, who was finding it difficult to stay upright, hit the bar with a curled shot in the70th minute. Some neat play between Brewster and Smith almost produced a chance in the 73rd minute and a minute later Anderson had a shot blocked before McGregor spilled and Mackie went close. Lovell should have added a third in the 78th minute when he was one-on-one with the keeper but tried to place the ball allowing McGregor to save. The game erupted again in the 83rd minute when Hutton went in late on Foster. Mackie over reacted and when the dust settled Hutton was booked and unlike Weir in the first half Mackie was also shown a yellow card.
A minute later Lovell had another chance but was denied by a great challenge that had everyone creaming for a spot kick. Considine replaced the injured Scott Severin as Aberdeen were now in total control of the match and never gave Rangers a sniff of a chance after this. Lovell picked up a late injury and Langfield made a final finger tip save in the final minute but the day belonged to Aberdeen as they delighted the huge Aberdeen support and collected their passport back into Europe.