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Match Preview | Viking FK v Aberdeen
Competition: UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round
Match: Viking FK v Aberdeen
Venue: SR – Bank Arena
Kick Off: 19:30 (BST)
TV Coverage: RedTV Pay Per View
The manager spoke to the media this afternoon from the team’s hotel in Stavanger as he looked ahead to tomorrow’s game.
“It is going to be a tough game. I have seen them play extremely well in certain games. They have not been as consistent as they would have liked this season, but their recent run of form has been a bit healthier. They are eighth in the league but they have some good players and they know how to score goals, they have got a good attacking threat and a good level of experience throughout the team as well as a few younger lads who have potential.
“They play 4-3-3 and are quite expansive. They are a team who score goals and back themselves but hopefully tomorrow we can be good enough tomorrow to get the desired result.
“They have scored more goals than they have conceded in recent games, so they do open up. They do have an attacking threat and they do all that they can to support that attacking threat. Their front players can be lively and dangerous and will need to be looked after. We have got an attacking threat as well and we need to show that side of us tomorrow night.
“I have spoken to Ronnie about them when the draw was made and chatted to him again this week and it just reinforced what we were thinking about them.
“It is not every year in your career that you get the chance to take on Sporting Lisbon, it is a real prize for both teams, I want to experience it as a manger, I want my players to play against a good side like them. Clearly the job in hand is on tomorrow night.
“We are playing well and have got a good squad to choose from, but it will be a tough, competitive game.
“You have to work hard to get on this type of run and once you are on it you have to remind the players exactly what it has taken to get to this point. It has been a lot of hard work. We are carrying a goal threat and we have only conceded a couple of goals this season and that has to continue tomorrow night.
“Even though we have not had a regular goal scorer at number 9, the performances of Marley Watkins have allowed others to contribute.
“The players are working extremely hard, they are playing with a point to prove, they have missed their football. Now we have managed to get a bit of strength in the legs, a bit of rhythm we are seeing the results of what we are all looking for. We want to keep that going, we don’t just want to be content with our lot. We want to keep driving on and to keep getting that winning feeling and tomorrow night gives us that opportunity to do that again.
“We waited so long for football to come back and when it did, we had to deal with what we dealt with. We had to stay calm and deal with the games. By winning games and putting in strong performances and everything we are talking about is football and it is about my team. My players deserve a lot of credit for shutting all that out and focusing on the job at hand.
“We don’t have to think about it too tactically, it is a one off cup, it is cup football, we have to go and get the job done. We are either in Europe after tomorrow or we are out and we know where we want to be.
Favourite European Result
“You saviour any victory on the road but for me it was Rijeka. People don’t know a lot about them but people who do know, they sell players for millions of pounds, they recruit players for hundreds of thousands and millions of pounds. They have such a strong home record there; they are expected to get to the group stages and are expected to challenge for the Champions League spot. We knew the level of team we were facing. For us to perform as well as we did, very streetwise, a counter attacking team, we looked like a season campaigned team. I thought we tactically won the fight but individually we were very strong that night.
“For me that one was probably the highlight.
“Groningen was a similar level of team and player, but they were probably not up to speed. They were a couple of games behind us in terms of preparation and that does help to bridge the gap. We enjoyed that one as people had written us off after the 0-0 draw at home, but we knew if we scored first then the pressure would really crank up on them.
“The situation we are in now with a one-off game, it is total cup football. It is all about that 90 minutes and getting the job done. I do think being the seeded team makes it more challenging, but I also think we can get the benefit of that if we can get through this one.
Aberdeen European Record Since 1967:
Played 142, Won 58, Drawn 38, Lost 46, Scored 213, Conceded 161.
The Last Time in Stavanger
We last played Viking FK in Stavanger in 2012 in the Energy Cities Community Cup. The Dons won 2-0 with goals from Cammy Smith and Jordon Brown.
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
Report | Victory in Norway as Aberdeen progress in Europe
VIKING FK 0 ABERDEEN 2
UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round
Thursday 15th September 2020
Ref – Filip Glova
It was six of the best for the Dons, sealing a sixth straight win and another clean sheet to make it six hours without conceding, as they head into the next round of Europa League qualifying following a solid win in Norway.
After Saturday’s 1-0 win over Kilmarnock, Derek McInnes made just the one change to his starting line up, Dylan McGeouch coming in for the injured Matty Kennedy. Bruce Anderson was the only other absentee from Saturday’s matchday squad as the bench was trimmed from nine to seven substitutes.
Viking warmed up for the game with their third win in a row, 5-3 at Kristiansund, making it five games unbeaten in their domestic league, in which they are eighth. They made just the one change from that game, Bell replacing the missing Løkberg in their three man midfield, the hosts naming only six subs.
Viking made a strong start, Bytyqi putting the ball into the side netting from inside the box when given far too much time and space in the opening minute. Scott Wright was gifted a half chance in the fifth minute, Ross McCrorie’s deep cross miskicked back across goal by a Viking defender, Wright’s shot from close range blocked behind, the hosts looking anything but secure defensively.
Marley Watkins was just a fraction away from his first Aberdeen goal in the sixth minute, Jonny Hayes standing his cross up onto the penalty spot, Watkins’ header tipped over by Austbø. McCrorie, playing wide on the right, was next to try his luck in the eighth minute, picked out by a raking pass from Lewis Ferguson, his shot from 25 yards well handled by the goalkeeper.
The Dons could have been in front on 15 minutes, Hedges powering through the middle and nudging the ball forward for Wright, through on goal, but the ball didn’t seem to run as he expected, getting stuck behind him and allowing the defender to get back to impede him, Wright’s low shot well saved by the goalkeeper’s legs.
Andrew Considine produced some brilliant last ditch defending to deny Ibrahimaj inside the six yard box in the 20th minute, the danger starting with Berisha down the Viking left again, Considine across to smother the shot, Joe Lewis picking up the pieces. Ibrahimaj really should have scored two minutes later, a golden opportunity with a free header from eight yards out but with all the goal to aim at, he put the ball well wide.
The game continued to flow from end to end, Hedges curling a shot wide from just outside the box in the 25th minute, the mystery being just how the game was still 0-0. McGeouch was next to try his luck, coming onto a loose ball 20 yards out, his low driven shot well held by Austbø. It was then the turn of Ferguson, looking to pick up the pieces just inside the area in the 29th minute, trying to guide a shot across goal and inside the bottom corner, but he pushed his shot just wide.
Persistence from Considine set Wright on his way down the left four minutes later, Wright pulling the ball back for Watkins whose shot on the turn was competently dealt with by Austbø.
From there, the hosts enjoyed a good spell of possession, pushing the Dons back, the best chance coming after 39 minutes to De Lanlay whose shot was blocked by Tommie Hoban, a really dangerous moment as again Viking threatened down their left. Aberdeen couldn’t get out of their own half for a while, Ibrahimaj getting another chance, dragging wide from just outside the penalty area.
A minute from the break though, a twice taken corner from Aberdeen grabbed them the lead, McCrorie getting onto the rebound from a blocked Wright effort, striking his shot through a ruck of players and into the bottom corner. There was a lengthy delay as the referee consulted his assistant over a possible offside decision, but in the end, the goal stood, bringing an engaging first half to the best possible end.
HALF-TIME: VIKING FK 0 ABERDEEN 1
No changes from either side at the break but like the first half, Viking started well, a nicely worked corner routine in the first minute ending with the ball coming to Berisha ten yards out but he didn’t get enough bend on the shot and put it wide, a let off for the Dons.
Watkins came close in the 51st minute, lovely composed play and then an incisive pass from Hoban setting him away, Vikstol doing well to block the shot behind. The Dons stayed on the front foot, a nice combination between Hedges and Wright giving Wright a shot at goal, again well blocked by the Viking rearguard.
Ferguson wasn’t far away with a driving run and then a 25 yarder that flashed across the face of goal and only just wide in the 55th minute as the Dons started to reassert some authority. A minute later though, Viking pushed forward again and Bytyqi’s first time effort was only just over the bar, albeit that Lewis had it covered as the game remained a little too open for Aberdeen’s comfort.
A brilliant run from Hedges took him past two challenges and into the box, his shot palmed away by Austbø, Hayes onto the rebound only to see his shot blocked. Considine was the first name in the book in the 72nd minute for kicking the ball away, then the Dons made a double change, Funso Ojo and Shay Logan on for Wright and McGeouch.
Lewis made his first save of the night in the 73rd minute, down to his right when unsighted to push the ball away from a De Lanlay shot, Bytyqi onto the rebound but putting it over. Viking made their own double change in the 76th minute, Høiland on for Vevantne, Andresson off as well for Bjørshol as Viking rolled the dice.
It didn’t work, for in the 78th minute, Aberdeen were two up and on the way to Lisbon. Out on the right, Hedges curled a corner over the goalkeeper and directly into the far corner, a lovely goal that, admittedly, Austbø won’t be putting on his showreel, flapping wildly at it as it sailed over him.
Østensen was the last change for the home side with six minutes left, De Lanlay making way, despite looking Viking’s biggest threat in the second half. Viking’s frustration showed moments later as Ibrahimaj thrashed a shot into the stands from fully 40 yards out.
The Don made their last change as we headed into added time, Watkins replaced by Curtis Main, Bjørshol coming close moments later, putting a snapshot from a corner wide of goal, summing up Viking’s attacking play on the evening.
It would have been no more than a consolation anyway, the whistle blowing seconds later, Aberdeen coming through yet another test this season.