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AFC - Match Report
match report 2003-04 fixture list
Celtic 1 - 2 Aberdeen
Kick Off:  7:45 PM   Larsson (15)       Prunty 55, Zdrilic 90.  
Attendance: 51,000
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow
Dons spoil the Celtic party
Aberdeen put in a magnificent performance at Celtic Park tonight to grab an unlikely three points. It looked ominous when Larsson fired the home side ahead in the 15th minute, but Aberdeen's young side stuck to their task and created a few scoring chances themselves in the opening period. The work rate never dropped and they were rewarded with an equaliser from Prunty in the 55th minute. Then after defending brilliantly Zdrilic grabbed a sensational winner in the 91st minute to give Aberdeen their first win at Parkhead in many years. It was also Celtic's first league defeat of the season and the end of an unbeaten run in excess of 70 matches.

Aberdeen made a positive start and won the opening corner in the third minute when a Zdrilic first time effort was deflected wide. This was quickly followed by a second corner, which Celtic cleared comfortably. Celtic struck back in the 6th minute when Buckley conceded a free kick. The Dons defence also coped well with the threat and cleared their lines. The home side then settled into their stride and started to exert some pressure as the Dons were put on the back foot. At this stage the Dons defence was being pulled all over the place as Larsson and Sylla combined well.

The pressure paid off for the home side in the 15th minute when Larsson ran on to the ball and as Preece delayed the Celtic striker smashed the ball past him to open the scoring. Aberdeen tried to hit back and won a corner in the 18th minute but Muirhead's effort went well over the bar as he was leaning back as he hit the ball. The Dons ventures forward were few and far between as they worked hard to keep Celtic out. Muirhead did break in the 23rd minute and beat Agathe before delivering a decent cross that Foster just failed to connect with.

The Dons were further depleted a minute later when Tosh had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Prunty. The Dons were still sticking to their task and won their fourth corner in the 25th minute and a minute later Sheerin tested Marshall with a fierce shot, which the keeper saved well. At the other end Lennon tested Preece and the Dons keeper made a fine save. A minute later McManus fired over as Celtic went looking for their 100th league goal of the season. The Dons carved out another chance in the 32nd minute, but Prunty failed to control the ball at the back post with only Marshall to beat.

Heikkinen was immense in the middle of the park and was creating chances for his front men when the opportunity arose. The big plus for the Dons was the work rate throughout the team. Celtic were never allowed too much room and the Dons were defending well. This was illustrated in the 39th minute when Morrison threw himself in font of a Sylla strike to deny the Celtic forward. A minute later Larsson was released again and this time Preece was off his line quickly to deny the striker. At the other end Heikkinen hit a low shot from 25 yards out which he pulled wide of the target. The Dons were still hitting Celtic on the break and as the half time whistle went the Dons could feel proud of their opening 45 minutes despite the loss of the Larsson goal.

As happened in the first half Aberdeen won the first two corners of the half in the 50th minute. A Zdrilic shot was turned round the post and after a decent delivery from Morrison, Lennon cleared the ball for a second corner. The home side easily dealt with the second delivery. Aberdeen then grabbed a sensational equaliser in the 55th minute when Muirhead drilled the ball across the face of the goal where Prunty was on hand to grab the equaliser. The goal stunned the home side and they immediately stepped up a gear as they looked to regain the lead as the small band of Reds pumped up the volume.

Larsson went close in the 61st minute as he headed inches wide of the target. By now the heavens had opened but the Dons concentration was holding well at this stage. Liam Miller entered the fray in the 67th minute and within a minute he forced Preece into a fine save. The Dons then broke through Muirhead again but this time Prunty was unable to finish the move. The action quickly moved to the other end and Buckley made a great tackle to deny Larsson a run in on goal. A couple of corners in the 71st minute saw Preece make a couple of fumbles, which thankfully were not punished.

Larsson went close again in the 75th minute when his snap shot was deflected wide of the target. Not surprisingly the Dons were getting forced further back and Liam Miller had another shot deflected wide a minute later. The corner count was mounting now for the home side, but the Dons were standing firm against the onslaught. Muirhead gave the Dons some relief in the 83rd minute when he won a corner from Neil Lennon. A Zdrilic header looked to have been deflected over, but a goal kick was the decision. With five minutes remaining Celtic won another corner as Foster cleared the danger. The resulting set play found Varga, but Preece easily saved his header although he did undo the good work when his clearance went straight out of play.

The final minutes saw the home side lay siege to the Aberdeen goal as they sent Varga up front to try and grab the winner. Then with a minute remaining Foster broke and set up Muirhead who watched in agony as his shot sailed over the bar. It was joy a couple of minutes later as Zdrilic grabbed an even more sensational second goal for the Dons after striding through and beating Marshall. Sheerin almost grabbed a third in the closing seconds but was denied by Marshall. The whistle went and the tiny band of Dons fans erupted. This will be one trip back from Glasgow that they will enjoy.

Audio: (Bryan Prunty goal Commentary),(David Zdrilic goal Commentary)
Soundclips courtesy of Northsound Radio
Celtic Teamsheet:  Marshall, McNamara, McManus, Varga, Wallace, Petrov, Lambert, Agathe, Lennon, Sylla, Larsson.

Unused Subs: Smith for Agathe (46), Balde for McNamara (49), Miller for McManus (67)


Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Preece, Morrison, Buckley, Heikkinen, Rutkiewicz, Higgins, Tosh (Prunty 24), Sheerin, Zdrilic, Foster, Muirhead.

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  Sheerin (90).

Referee: Iain Brines

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