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Aberdeen 6 - 0 NSI Runavik

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 0 NSI Runavik

Europa League First Preliminary Round
Aberdeen scorers: Ferguson 36, Main 42, Hedges 49, Hedges 59, Hayes 63, Hedges 86 (Pen).

27/08/2020 | KO: 19:45

Hedges hat-trick as Dons ease through

A thoroughly professional display from the Dons broke down the initial stubborn resistance from their Faroese opponents before putting them to the sword in the second half, Ryan Hedges scoring the club's fifth ever European hat-trick.

Returning to Pittodrie for a seventh straight season of European football, Derek McInnes made three changes to the side that started the 2-1 win over Livingston on Sunday, the Dons settling into a 3-5-2 formation. Into the XI came Andy Considine, Dylan McGeouch and Curtis Main with Shay Logan, Ash Taylor and Ryan Hedges missing out, Hedges taking a place on the seven man bench along with the returning Niall McGinn and Dean Campbell.

Unsurprisingly, NSÍ Runavík coach Glenn Ståhl named an unchanged starting XI from their 5-1 demolition of Barry Town United in last Thursday's preliminary qualifying round, though now they were arranged in a 5-4-1 set up compared with the 4-3-3 from that game, coming to Pittodrie to sit in deep.

The Dons were on the front foot from the off, winning a second minute corner after good work from Jonny Hayes. The first shot in anger came six minutes later, Scott Wright whipping a shot just over the bar from ten yards out after good, patient build up play from Aberdeen. Next, a searing run down the right from Matty Kennedy ended with a cross speared into the near post, Main putting his header wide from a tight angle. Kennedy was already wreaking havoc down the Aberdeen right.

Corner number two came in the 19th minute, Lewis Ferguson's 25 yarder taking a deflection off one of the massed ranks of Runavík defenders in the box on its way wide. Kennedy took it from the left, Scott McKenna's header from beyond the back post looping over the bar. A probing ball forward from Ross McCrorie on the half hour set Wright on his way and he found a fine ball into Main, the centre-forward moving across his defender but unable to quite wrap his foot around the ball.

Davidsen went into the book on 33 minutes after slicing Hayes into touch on the left flank as the Faroese team defended doughtily. The deadlock was broken three minutes later though, more good possession from the Dons feeding the ball out to Considine on the edge of the penalty area. He curled in an inviting cross, standing the ball up on the edge of the six yard box where Ferguson rose well to direct his header into the net.

A training ground corner came next in the 38th minute, Hayes sending a corner flying out to Ferguson the edge of the box, the goalscorer's volley ballooning high over the bar.

It was 2-0 in the 42nd minute, a well worked goal, Wright too quick and too clever for Runavík to handle down the right before rolling a ball along the deck and through the six yard box and on to Main's foot for the easiest tap in he'll get all season to complete a very satisfactory first half for the hosts.

HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 2 NSÍ RUNAVÍK 0

Aberdeen brought on Ryan Hedges for Curtis Main at the break, the striker still easing his way back to fitness. Hedges nearly created a third goal within a minute, pulling the ball back to McGeouch on the edge of the box, Thomsen doing well to get down to his right to parry the shot away.

It was 3-0 in the 50th minute though, clever, intricate feet from McGeouch taking him into the box before feeding Hayes out on the left. Thomsen got down to his low cross but could only push it into the path of Hedges, following into the six yard box to snaffle the loose ball and stick it in the net.

The Welsh international scored his second in the 59th with a ferocious strike from just inside the box, Watkins having sent Kennedy on the run before pulling the ball back to Wright and on to Hedges who caught the ball perfectly.

Runavík were beginning to look a weary and ragged side by now, the Dons fizzing the ball around the defenders who had been so eager to defend their goal in the first half an hour. Trying to freshen things up, Jakobsen came on for Hansen as the game restarted.

Hayes joined the goalscoring party in the 63rd minute, turning smartly and wrapping his left foot round the ball from the edge of the D to send it soaring past Thomsen and into the roof of the net.

The 70th minute saw NSÍ make their second change, Mortensen off, Lokin replacing him, Aberdeen reciprocating three minutes left as Watkins made way for Anderson. McGinn became the third substitute in the 82nd minute, Wright going off as, the game long since won, started to meander towards a close.

Hedges wasn't far away from his third a minute later, collecting a nice ball from McGeouch before drilling in a shot from 20 yards which took a deflection on its way wide of goal. The hat-trick chance did come in the 87th minute as Jakobsen climbed all over Ferguson to concede a penalty, Hedges slamming the spot kick through the goalkeeper and in to register the 200th competitive hat-trick in Aberdeen history.

Runavík then took off Bech, replaced by Aron Knudsen, Hojgaard collecting a late yellow for clipping Ferguson's heels as the Dons made their comfortable way into the next round and, you would imagine, a sterner test of their European credentials.

Weather: Fair and still
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, McCrorie, McKenna, Considine, Hayes, Ferguson, McGeouch, Wright (McGinn 82), Kennedy, Watkins (Anderson 73), Main (Hedges 46).

Unused Subs: Cerny, Hernandez, Hoban, Campbell.
NSI Runavik Teamsheet
1 Tórdur Thomsen, 22 Bárdur Hansen (4 Jakup Jacobsen 59), 3 Oddur Arnason Hojgaard, 5 Jóhan Davidsen, 17 Jann Benjaminsen, 8 Jesper Christjansen, 23 Salmundur Bech (27 Aron Knudsen 88), 20 Mórits Heini Mortensen (18 Steffan Løkin 70), 7 Rógvi Nielsen, 10 Klæmint Olsen ©, 16 Petur Knudsen

Unused Substitutes: 29 Karstin Hansen (GK), 11 Búi Egilsson, 14 Jann Martin Mortensen, 18 Steffan Løkin, 26 Pætur Skipanes

Bookings:  Davidsen 33,   Hojgaard 88
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Ivar Orri Kristjansson, Iceland
Next Match
Peterhead
A
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead