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HNK Rijeka v Aberdeen Preview

August 7, 2019 11:39 pm Author: Malcolm Panton
HNK Rijeka v Aberdeen Preview


UEFA Europa League

Qualifying Round 3, First Leg

HNK Rijeka v Aberdeen

Stadion Rujevica

Thursday 08th August 2019

1900 UK time (2000 local time)


Live on Premier Sports 1 and RedTV international


Supporter Information

Ticket Collection in Rijeka Thursday between 1pm and 3pm in the square in the centre of Rijeka. Name of square is Trg 128 Brigade Hrvatske Vojske


for more information or any questions please follow @AberdeenFCSLO



The Manager

“Rijeka, being the seeded team and with their recent history, I would have to say they are the favourites.

“But they were the favourites the last time.

“We are not daunted or phased by the challenge we have.

“We take it on and we hope that we can deliver two strong performances, away and at home, and that will be enough to over come the challenge.

“I have a healthy regard for Rijeka.

“I have watched them over the past week and have a good handle on the type of team they are.

“They still possess that high-quality technical ability – they have some good technical players. I also see an added physicality about them.

“Igor Bišćan, I don’t know too much about him as a coach, I did not know he was the Head Coach here till we were drawn together, but obviously he was a top footballer and had a top career.

“Thankfully he is not playing tomorrow!”


RedTV Inteview with Derek | please click here


Scott Wright

“I think we are really starting to hit a run of form. We had a strong pre-season and have done well in the Europa League games. We then managed to turn the game around on Sunday and it was a great result.

“Hopefully we can carry that momentum into the game tomorrow.

“On Thursday night, I think everything we tried came off for us going forward. But we also managed to keep switched on defensively and managed to keep a clean sheet.

“On Sunday, we knew that it was going to be a battle. We expected that and I thought we did that side of the game just as well. To flip the result around in the last ten minutes was extra sweet.

“Tomorrow, there are a couple of factors that are going to come into play. The heat will affect us, it is something we are not used to it Scotland.

“And we will need to see how they are going to play. Are they going to press us or give us more time on the ball?

“It will different to Scottish football but that is why we enjoy the challenge of playing in the Europa League. You are playing different teams from different countries and have a short period of time to work out a game plan. It is different challenges.

“It was a great result out here four years ago.

“They are a different team and so are we now. We are very experienced in this competition.

“I am looking forward to the game tomorrow and getting stuck into it.

“There is a lot of competition for places which is a good thing. There is going to be a fight to get in the team and then when you are in it you are going to have to play well to nail down a spot and make it your own.

“If you get a chance you need to try and take it and do as much as you can.”


Inteview with Scott | please click here


Lewis Ferguson

“We (the players) don’t know too much about them at the moment but the staff will have done their work over the past week. They will put their ideas across on how we should go out and play.

“We will have a meeting tonight and the manager will put his ideas across and then I can start to think about what type of game I am going to have play tomorrow.

“I feel we have been playing well, even in the pre-season games. We started off really well and kept the standards high through both European ties, especially last week at Pittodrie. I thought we were different class. The energy, the tempo – the Georgian team could not really live with us.

“Hopefully we can take a positive result back to Pittodrie.

“Obviously, you want to try and win the game. Every time you go out onto the pitch, it does not really matter who you are playing, that is what you want, you want a win.

“We will go out and perform the best we can. A positive result could be a draw or getting an away goal like we did a couple of weeks ago when we were in Georgia and taking the draw back to Pittodrie. That was a positive result because we know what we are capable of at home as everyone has seen over the past couple of games.

“I will go out and do my best and work as hard as possible. It is going to be tough, coming over here and they will be a good side and the conditions are a bit different with the heat. But I believe we will adapt well and can cope with anything that comes our way.”


RedTV Inteview with Lewis | please click here


Andrew Considine

“That was a special night. They came out and said that no one had won there for years. They had beaten some really good European teams. The biggest turning point in the game was the water break after about 20 minutes. Rijeka had hit the post, they had hit the bar, probably should have been two or three up, but we managed to ride the storm and got to the break.

“The manager just told us to settle down. We did not keep the ball very well, and when it is as warm as it was, you then have to do a lot of running. We were trying to play the ball into the corners but we needed to keep it better. We also started to win the midfield battle and what a difference that made.

“It was an incredible feeling getting my first European goal and that really settled us down. For my goal, the week leading up to the game we had worked a lot on set plays. With the height we had in the team – Ash, Paul Quinn and myself – we thought we could capitalise on a set play. I was lucky enough to get on the end of one.

“There was a new corner routine that we did. We would start on the six yard box – two at the front post and two at the back post – and you would walk out to past the penalty spot, imagine there was a pole there, run round it and come back in. It is hard to mark. I managed to lose my man and I remember seeing the goalkeeper coming flying out for it, about a yard in front of me, but he missed it. For my header I did not get a lot on it but I just tried to make a decent connection and direct the ball to the space that the keeper left. When the ball hit the net it was a feeling you cannot describe – it was a feeling of relief as well after the difficult start!”


Inteview with Andrew | please click here

Aberdeen FC European Record

Played 139, won 57, drawn 38, lost 44 – scored 207, conceded 157
Away from home (including ECWC Final in Gothenburg) –
Played 70, won 18, drawn 19, lost 33 – scored 67, conceded 97


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Rijeka Report | Dons down but not out

August 8, 2019 9:10 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Rijeka Report | Dons down but not out

A frustrating evening in Rijeka saw the Dons beaten 2-0 in a game that had little in it, the course of the game changed by a penalty awarded to the home side on the hour.

Following Sunday’s late win over Hearts, Derek McInnes made two changes for the trip to Croatia, Niall McGinn and Ryan Hedges returning to the starting XI with James Wilson and Scott Wright taking their places on the bench. Also on the bench were new loan signing Zak Vyner and, returning from injury, Mikey Devlin.

The home side started well, Halilovic’s low corner into the box sliced over the bar by Puncec from 12 yards out just two minutes in. Moments later Shay Logan blocked a ferocious shot from Acosty, needing a few seconds afterwards to clear his head.

The Dons carved out their first opening after nine minutes. A fine free-kick in from Niall McGinn some 35 yards out picked out Sam Cosgrove. His towering header down came tantalisingly close to Lewis Ferguson in front of goal but Acosty was just in front of him and able to scramble the ball clear.

Rijeka had good possession for the first time around the quarter hour, the lively looking Acosty causing problems before the ball broke to Colak 25 yards out, his shot always bending well wide.

A thunderous shoulder first challenge on Ferguson from Capan somehow didn’t draw a card from the referee after 18 minutes, the youngster getting slowly to his feet thereafter. Ryan Hedges then took an even heavier blow, albeit accidental, in a mid-air collision that needed some treatment before he was able to continue midway through the first half.

The best effort of the game thus far came in the 27th minute, again for the home side, Acosty working the ball into Halilovic, his effort from just outside the box swerving as it flew over the bar, Joe Lewis always having it under control.

Two minutes later came a better chance still, a cleverly worked corner in from Halilovic allowing Lepinjica to fire a first time effort goalwards, Lewis down to his right to produce a brilliant reflex save. The ball rebounded out to Zuparic on the edge of the six yard box but with all the goal to aim at, he somehow scuffed his shot wide for a real let off.

On 33 minutes, good work from Leigh and Jon Gallagher set McGinn running across the top of the box only to be brought down though remarkably, no foul was given.

From there, the home side began to enjoy a spell of good possession, the Dons keeping a good shape to keep them at arm’s length, the only criticism being that when Aberdeen did win the ball back, they were a little lax in their use of it. That said, the Dons began to push the tide back in the last few moments of the half to see themselves safely through to the break with the clean sheet still intact.

HALF-TIME: HNK Rijeka 0 Aberdeen 0

Early signs that Rijeka’s patience was running out against Aberdeen’s strong defensive shape came in the first minute of the second half, Lepinjica firing hopefully at goal from all of 35 yards, never troubling Lewis.

They were more impressive in the 49th minute, clever play down their right creating space for Halilovic to drift inside and drive a left foot shot that didn’t flash too far past the far post.

The referee finally produced a card in the 54th minute when the pace of Gallagher forced Kvrzic into a lunging tackle on halfway. From the resultant free-kick, the Dons eventually created space for McGinn to curl in a cross that was just a shade too strong for Andrew Considine. With the home crowd getting frustrated, Aberdeen began to ask more questions, Ferguson playing further forward than in the first 45 minutes.

Frustratingly, having done all the hard work, from nowhere Rijeka were gifted a penalty, Logan penalised for the slightest tug on Colak’s shirt, Logan also collecting a booking after the striker’s theatrical fall, one of many across the evening. Colak picked himself up and smacked his penalty kick straight down the middle to make it 1-0 after 62 minutes.

Acosty made way for Muric before the restart and Zuparic was then almost immediately booked for a horrible studs up challenge on Gallagher and, from the free-kick, McGinn’s ball flashed through the box and just wide of the far post, Considine again the closest Aberdeen player to the ball.

Another inswinging corner from Halilovic caused havoc in the Aberdeen area in the 73rd minute, the ball flashing through the area without drawing a finishing touch as the hosts were now playing with renewed confidence after the goal.

With 15 minutes to go there was a slew of changes, McGinn and Gallagher making way for Dean Campbell and Scott Wright for Aberdeen, Tomecak replaced by Raspopovic for the home side. Four minutes later, Capan became the third Rijeka name to go into the book.

Frustration was creeping into the Dons’ game by this stage, Cosgrove trying a very ambitious shot from 30 yards with eight minutes to go that was easy for Prskalo in the Rijeka goal. Iglesias then replaced Capan in the 84th minute as the Croatians made their final change. Derek McInnes took his last throw of the dice two minutes later, Curtis Main replacing Hedges as Aberdeen went after the away goal that would change the complexion of the tie.

But it was Rijeka who got the crucial goal with three minutes to go, Muric showing great control to get himself away from Campbell before drilling in a vicious shot from the edge of the box that buried itself in the bottom corner.

Cosgrove found his way into the referee’s book as the game entered three minutes of added time and Ferguson almost pulled a goal back moments later, a 25 yard drive getting a deflection that was well handled by Prskalo, but it really wasn’t the Dons’ night.

A harsh scoreline in the end from a game where there wasn’t much between the sides, but it leaves the Dons with a lot of work to do in the second leg at Pittodrie. Then again, Aberdeen did beat Rijeka 3-0 the last time we met in this competition.


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