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AFC - Match Report
match report 2003-04 fixture list
Aberdeen 2 - 3 Rangers
Kick Off:  12:30 PM   Zdrilic 24, Deloumeaux 90.       de Boer (38), Arteta (42), Mols (58)  
Attendance: 16,348 (Visitors: 3,192)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Dons lose out after bright start
It was to be no happy anniversary for the Dons today as they lost narrowly to Rangers 100 years and 1 day after their first ever match. The Dons made the perfect start when David Zdrilic opened the scoring in the 24th minute, but a four-minute spell before the interval saw the visitors take the lead. Aberdeen immediately lost a third after this and despite a late goal from Deloumeaux Rangers ran out 3-2 winners.

Rangers got the game underway as Aberdeen adopted a positive 4-3-3 formation. The Dons had the first chance when Zdrilic was brought down 30 yards out, but Steve Tosh sent the free kick straight into the hands of Stefan Klos. Rangers carved out a half chance in the 6th minute when Nerlinger had a glimpse of goal, but was closed down before he could do any damage. Seconds later Mackie had the chance to deliver a telling cross but sent his effort out of play. Barry Ferguson went closest in the opening spell when he sent a free kick inches over the cross bar.

The teams had been fairly evenly matched in the opening 15 minutes although neither keeper had been really tested. Mols however was causing problems, but fortunately his final ball had yet to find a colleague. Aberdeen created their best move in the 18th minute when McQuilken was released on the left and, beating the full back, whipped in a cross which Booth steered on target. The header was too close to Klos and the keeper had an easy catch.

Aberdeen grabbed the lead in the 24th minute when Zdrilic latched on to a long through ball from McGuire. He beat Berg before having his shot blocked by Klos, but the big Aussie headed the rebound into the empty net to send the red army into raptures. Aberdeen almost grabbed a second on the half-hour mark when Mackie collected a loose ball and fired an effort across the face of the goal with Scott Booth just failing to get the required touch. Aberdeen were having a great spell at this time and went close again a minute later.

Rangers were forced into a change in the 33rd minute when Lovenkrands was carried off after twisting his knee. Steven Thompson replaced him. Within five minutes Rangers had levelled after Mols went to ground easily about 30 yards out. Ball crashed the free kick off the woodwork and de Boer netted the rebound despite Scott Booth's attempts to keep the ball out. Worse was to follow when Rangers grabbed a second three minutes before the break. Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and Mols set up Arteta who fired the ball past Preece.

After being totally in control the lead had been lost in the space of four minutes. There was an explosive end to the half when a huge melee kicked off before Michael Ball and McGuire were booked. Initially Russell Anderson had been shown the yellow card in a case of mistaken identity, but referee McCurry changed his mind and the card was rescinded.

Rangers almost extended their lead in the opening minute of the second period when Preece was forced into a fingertip save from Thompson. A minute later Mols was lucky to escape a yellow card after raising his hands to McGuire. Preece was in action again in the 51st minute when he made another wonderful save from Arteta. The visitors grabbed a third goal when Mols drilled the ball beyond Preece to leave the Dons with an uphill struggle.

David Zdrilic almost grabbed a lifeline for the Dons in the 62nd minute when his header crashed off the cross bar after he outjumped the Rangers defence. Minutes later Klos had an easy save from an Anderson header. Zdrilic went close again in the 71st minute when he fired a shot inches wide with Klos struggling to get across his goal. The game had lost its edge now and the second period was a shadow of what had been on show in the first half. Preece was still showing that he is turning into a fine keeper with yet another superb save to deny Thompson in the 81st minute.

Booth had another chance to pull one back in the 86th minute when he was first to reach a Clark cross. Unfortunately the ball was too high and the effort went tamely over. The Dons threw themselves a lifeline in the final minute when Deloumeaux pulled one back. Zdrilic had watched in agony as his effort was cleared off the line, but Deloumeaux returned the ball with interest and the stand side linesman declared the ball had crossed the line despite a second effort to clear. The Dons had a couple of half chances to secure a draw, but were unable to take them.

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Preece, McQuilken (Clark 77), Anderson, McGuire, Hart, Sheerin, Heikkinen (Deloumeaux 78), Tosh, Mackie (McNaughton 66), Booth, Zdrilic.

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  McGuire (45).

Rangers Teamsheet:  Klos, Nerlinger, Berg, Khizanishvili, Ball, Ricksen, Ferguson, Arteta, de Boer, Lovenkrands, Mols

Unused Subs: Thompson for Lovenkrands (33), Vanoli for de Boer (54), Malcolm for Berg (75)

Bookings:  Ball (45)

Referee: T. M. McCurry, Barrhead

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