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Aberdeen 3 - 0 Ventspils

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Ventspils

Europa League Second Preliminary Round First Leg
Aberdeen scorers: Stockley 71, Rooney 75, Burns 91.

14/07/2016 | KO: 19:45

Dons head to Latvia with 3 goal lead

Three changes were made to the side which played in Luxembourg. Reynolds, Rooney and McGinn came back into the side whilst there were places on the bench for Miles Storey, Jayden Stockley as well as Wes Burns, who was signed late last night to beat the UEFA deadline.

Aberdeen made a positive start and in the 3rd minute Hayes was able to put over a ball from the left. He stood it up well and McLean got his head on it but the midfielder was always stretching and he could not direct it on target. In the 6th minute a Dons free kick was flicked back into the box but Niall McGinn produces a weak header and the ball went wide. Even in the early stages you could see that Ventspils were a decent side who were going to be difficult to break down. In the 16th minute a quick break allowed Sinelnikovs to break down the left but thankfully his cross was well cut out by Taylor. A minute later Mclean picked the ball up deep and sprayed a long ball to Considine who produced a first time cross which went across the six-yard box and keeper Uvarenko had to look alert. 20 minutes in, the game was fairly even.
On 21 minutes a Tidenbergs free kick was well claimed by Lewis. The visitors would certainly be a threat from any set-pieces due to their height. On 22 minutes Hayes went for a mazy run and jinked away from five defenders, but could not beat the last man. The first corner of the game on 23 minutes was wrongly awarded to Ventspils. They won a second moments later and it caused real problems. Lewis in the end had to work really hard to stop the ball going in at the near post but the ball skimmed the cross bar and landed at the feet of Kolesovs who at the back post missed a great chance for Ventspils. With the goal at his mercy he could not sort his feet out. Back came the Dons.
Aberdeen responded well as McGinn nearly found Rooney in the 6-yard-box, then Shinnie was fouled in a dangerous position. McGinn's good ball in was flicked out by Jemelins for a corner. However, a poor corner from McLean came to nothing and stopped the momentum building. Challenges from both sides were flying in and Portugese referee Pinheiro seemed happy to let the game flow. Just after the half hour mark a great ball in from Logan on his left foot landed on Rooney's head at the back post, but the keeper smothered well. On 35 minutes McLean was picked out after pulling wide. His cross was knocked behind for a second Dons corner. The ball in was not dealt with convincingly by keeper Uvarenko and then there was a game of pinball inside the area and Considine's prod forward appeared to strike a Ventspils arm inside the area but the referee immediately waved play on. Then McLean cut a brilliant ball back but unfortunately there was no one on the same wave length to make the right run. In the 37th minute the best move of the game led to the best chance so far as Hayes found Rooney, but he could not get the shot away cleanly. The ball was just slightly behind the striker. Then two minutes later McGinn did really well to get to the by-line and cut the ball back this time he found Shinnie who shot, the keeper fumbled and Kolesovs had to clear the ball off the line.
Aberdeen had really stepped up the pace and the Latvians were struggling to cope. However the Latvians defended well and game fizzled out at the end of the half with everything all square.

Aberdeen started the second half with an early corner and then a free kick on the edge of the area when Hayes was taken-out in the air. McGinn took it and although he beat the wall Uvarenko saved well and the keeper, who is also the skipper, did well to save the follow up from Rooney at his near post. Aberdeen kept up the pressure and McGinn had a half chance on the edge of the area but he did not connect properly and none of his team mates could divert the ball towards the net. Frustrating. Taylor was then booked for a late tackle. Tempers then started to boil over a bit and shortly after McLean was booked for dissent. A number of decisions were going against the Dons but the players needed to refocus. And to their credit they did. Great play by Hayes on 57 minutes as he tormented the left back and won a corner for his efforts. From the corner the ball was knocked up in the air. Rooney tried an overhead kick but his effort flew over the bar.
After a period of stalemate, on 65 minutes McGinn stepped inside and let fly from 25 yards. He caught the ball well but the keeper gathered after smothering the shot. On 67 minutes the first change. An attacking move from the manager as Stockley came on and McLean was the player withdrawn. Straight away Stockley won a header but he could not find Rooney. In the 70th minute McGinn won a corner which Taylor headed over.
Then a minute later the decision by the manager to leave on Rooney to play with Stockley paid off. Rooney on the left wing did brilliantly to play a reverse pass to set Hayes free. Jonny had the space he needed to play a brilliant cross which picked out Stockley and he headed into the net from inside the six yard box. On 74 minutes a deep corner was well kept in play by Reynolds at the back post. Although the ball was cleared as far as Jack near the half way line the skipper put a great ball back into the area which Taylor knocked down. A really brave header by Ash found Rooney and the Dons striker produced a superb finish to beat his marker and the keeper who was unsighted. 2-0 and the Dons had the lead they wanted.
On 79 minutes a nervy moment when Considine misjudged a high ball. Although the left back did well to recover the situation Tidenbergs put over an inviting ball but thankfully Ryan Jack, who had an excellent game, managed to intercept at the expense of a corner. In the final five minutes the Dons went pushing for a third without committing too many bodies forward. There were a lot of tired players on both sides. The visitors brought on striker Svarups and played two up front as they went in search of a late away goal. On 87 minutes McGinn left the left back for dead and was eventually hauled down. On the edge of the area. Jack floated the ball up for Stockley but his header was off target.
In the 90th minute man of the match Adam Rooney was given a standing ovation as he was replaced by new boy Wes Burns. It was another inspired substitution from the manager. Incredibly with his first touch Burns scored. A McGinn corner was met brilliantly by Burns. It was an outstanding header. What a start for the Welshman.

A superb Aberdeen performance with so much to be positive about.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine, McLean (Stockley 68), Jack, Shinnie, Rooney (Burns 89), McGinn, Hayes.

Unused Subs: Alexander, O'Connor, Pawlett, McKenna, Storey.

Bookings:  Taylor (52),  McLean (54).
Ventspils Teamsheet
1 Maksims Uvarenko, 25 Ritvars Rugins, 22 Nikola Boranijasevic, 26 Antons Jemelins, 19 Nikita Kolesovs, 8 Alans Sinelnikovs, 9 Simonas Paulius, 21 Vitalijs Recickis, 14 Eduards Tidenbergs (3 Vadims Zulevs 81), 15 Aleksei Alekseev (23 Kaspars Svarups 87), 20 Girts Karlsons. Unused Subs: 7 Jurijs Zigajevs, 17 Hyeokjun Lee, 16 Andrejs Pavlovs, 10 Ndue Mujeci, 4 Abdul Rashid Obuobi.

Bookings:  Rugins 88
Attendance: 10,672
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: João Pinheiro, Portugal
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead