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AFC - Match Report
match report 2004-05 fixture list
Aberdeen 0 - 0 Rangers
Kick Off:  12:30 PM          
Attendance: 19,028 (Visitors: 3,627)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Dons battle to opening draw
Aberdeen have opened their SPL campaign with a draw against Rangers at Pittodrie. The visitors dominated the first half and although they held the upper hand after the interval Aberdeen appeared to grow in confidence as the game unfolded and showed tremendous fight throughout. Diamond was a rock at the back and made several telling blocks while McNaughton in the middle of the park started to shine in the second half. The only down side was an injury to Phil McGuire. He was injured as he made a goal line clearance late on and was stretchered off. With this tough match under the belt Aberdeen now need to build on this over the next few weeks to ensure they hit the ground running in this campaign.

Rangers kicked off and immediately put the ball out of play. It didn't take long however for passions to boil over as Rae and Whelan got involved in small fracas in the opening minute. Stuart Dougal had a stern word with both players before Rangers carved out the first chance of the math in the 3rd minute. Burke was released on the right and Preece had to look sharp to cut out his cut back. Both teams were giving 100% and the opening spell was littered with free kicks.

Rangers went close again in the 7th minute when Diamond misjudged a header allowing Lovenkrands to break. The Dane attempted to lob Preece from 18 yards but fortunately the ball landed on the roof of the net. Whelan was released in the 10th minute but delayed and was unable to get a cross in. A minute later McNaughton collected the first yellow card of the season then Rangers went close again in the 12th minute when Prso headed a Burke corner straight at Preece.

Aberdeen carved out their first real chance in the 14th minute when a Clark cross was scrambled clear by Vignal with Adams lurking. Aberdeen at this stage were being penalised for every challenge as Rangers continued to dominate. Lovenkrands had a chance to punish a McNaughton slip but his cross was woeful and landed in the Family stand. Rangers went close again in the 22nd minute following a free kick awarded after a badly timed challenge by Michael Hart. The ball made its way to the back post and Preece gratefully clutched Burke's return from the air.

Aberdeen were limited to occasional ventures up field at this stage and when attacks did break down the visitors were quick to counter. In the 27th minute Whelan laid the ball off to Clark on the left and the ball was scrambled clear as he tried to connect with the return. A minute later Diamond followed McNaughton into the book for a challenge on Lovenkrands. On the half hour mark Ricksen was penalised for a bad challenge on Whelan but the resulting free kick was easily cleared. Preece was called into action again three minutes later when, with an outstretched hand, he tipped a Prso header over the bar.

A Whelan cross in the 38th minute failed to threaten and three minutes later Preece had the Red Armies heart in their mouth when he misjudged a ball and had to gather at the second attempt. A mix up in the Dons defence almost allowed Novo a sight of goal as Preece was forced to concede a corner. A minute later Diamond was caught in possession as the Dons looked nervous with the interval approaching. Then in the dying seconds Whelan was released wide and Severin saw two efforts blocked before he managed a weak effort on target, which Klos easily gathered.

The game was delayed at the start of the second half as Burke went down injured and was stretchered off. Averladze immediately replaced him before Whelan forced the first corner of the second half in the 50th minute. The threat was ended when Whelan was adjudged to have pushed Boumsong. A minute later Clark had a weak effort that was easily gathered while at the other end Hughes fired a volley wide following yet another free kick for the visitors. Diamond got in a telling block in the 54th minute as Prso looked certain to open the scoring.

A promising Aberdeen break was halted by Boumsong a minute later as Rangers continued to force the game. In the 59th minute Diamond was the hero again as he blocked another Prso effort to deny the visitors. The game burst into life on the hour mark when Rae made an over the top challenge on McGuire and the referee played on. McGuire limped off and required lengthy treatment before returning. A minute later a mix up in the Rangers defence brought muted appeals for a spot kick and while McGuire was still off the field receiving treatment Rangers went close.

McNaughton was unlucky in the 69th minute as a gap opened but the ball wouldn't break for him. At the other end Novo was released wide but the Dons defence closed him down well. McNaughton was warming to the task and he showed some magical footwork as he beat three Rangers players to earn a huge cheer. In the 77th minute Diamond proved to be a rock again as he did enough to keep Novo at bay as he threatened on the right. Aberdeen were playing with more confidence at this stage but the visitors still looked the likelier.

McGuire met a McNaughton free kick in the 82nd minute but he was unable to steer it on target and a minute later Craig replaced Whelan. Rangers then went close in the 84th minute when Lovenkrands crashed a Vignal cross off the bar with Preece beaten. The match was now moving from end to end and a minute later Heikkinen and Klos were in a chase for an excellent McNaughton through ball, which the German won. Tosh then replaced McNaughton before Phil McGuire saved the day when he injured himself clearing a Lovenkrands effort off the line. Morrison replaced him as the fourth official held up for three minutes of stoppage time. There were no further chances and Calderwood will be happy to get a tough opener out of the way with a creditable result.

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Preece, Hart, McGuire (Morrison 89), McNaughton (Tosh 86), Diamond, Anderson, Clark, Heikkinen, Whelan (Craig 83), Severin, Adams.

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  McNaughton (11),  Diamond (28).

Rangers Teamsheet:  Klos, Ricksen, Boumsong, Khizanishvili, Rae, Vignal, Burke, Novo, Prso, Lovenkrands, Hughes.

Unused Subs: Averladze for Burke (49)


Referee: Stuart Dougal, Burnside

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