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Aberdeen 3 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 3 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Lopes 5, Lopes 21, Pollock 28.

18/03/2023 | KO: 15:00

Superb Dons win with some style

A first half blitz from the Dons simply blew Hearts away as Aberdeen moved up to fourth place in the table and to within four points of the third placed Jambos.

There were three changes to Barry Robson's starting XI after the 3-1 win at Tannadice a fortnight ago, with Jay Gorter missing the game through illness and Ryan Duncan and Jack MacKenzie starting from the bench. Replacing them were fit again Kelle Roos, Jonny Hayes and Liam Scales. There was a return to the matchday squad for Jayden Richardson and Connor Barron, Alfie Bavidge and the injured Matty Kennedy missing out.
Hearts lost 3-0 at home to Celtic in the Scottish Cup quarter-final last weekend and made three changes from that side. Lawrence Shankland, Robert Snodgrass and Alex Cochrane all returned in place of Jorge Grant, Andrew Halliday and Stephen Kingsley, who were all on the bench.
Pittodrie was bathed in sunshine as the game kicked off, and the sun was certainly shining on Duk after five minutes as he gave the Dons the lead. The goal owed a lot to Graeme Shinnie, who skipped past a couple of challenges on the left before driving in a low cross into the six yard box. Clark pawed it clear at full stretch, the ball striking a defender and sitting up nicely for Duk 12 yards out. He caught it on the volley and, via a deflection or two, it found the back of the net past a flatfooted Clark.
It was a high octane start from the Dons, keeping Hearts penned deep into their own half of the field in the opening exchanges, Shinnie a particular nightmare for the visitors, setting the tone as he chased everything down and didn't give any of the Hearts players a moment on the ball.
Mattie Pollock was in with a chance on 19 minutes following a half cleared corner. Leighton Clarkson manufactured a terrific ball back into the box that found Pollock, but his shot was charged down.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 though, Duk in business again. Pollock was the provider out on the right touchline, 25 yards out. Bending his brilliant cross into the box, Duk was onto it at the near post and his glancing header flashed across goal and inside the far post, a beautifully judged header.
Duk needed treatment on 25 minutes after taking a whack in a challenge with Kiomourtzoglou, but fortunately he was able to carry on.
Pollock grabbed his first Aberdeen goal on 28 minutes as the Dons continued taking Hearts to pieces. Clarkson took a free-kick out on the right, 30 yards out, and as the ball curled across goal, Pollock was the one who was keenest to get on the end of it, sprinting away from the Hearts backline at the back post and hurling himself into a diving header that powered the ball past Clark.
Ylber Ramadani very nearly got in on the act on 33 minutes. Played in behind by Duk, his low drive went just wide of the target from a tight angle. A minute later, Cochrane was replaced by Kingsley for Hearts. Shankland was in the book after 37 minutes after wrestling Pollock to the ground as the visitors' frustration mounted.
Hayes took a Ginnelly cross flush on the side of the head in the 40th minute and went down needing treatment. In the end he was replaced by Coulson, discretion the better part of valour in this instance. From the resulting corner, Hill headed over the bar at the near post.
Coulson was quickly in the thick of it, winning the ball and setting Ross McCrorie away via Ramadani. McCrorie's ball in found Coulson but his looping header went over the bar in the 45thminute.

HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 3 HEARTS 0

There was another change for Hearts at the break, Forrest replacing Kiomourtzoglou.
Duk was looking for his hat-trick on 48 minutes, robbing Sibbick and trying his luck from 30 yards, Clark tipping his dipping shot over the bar. From the resulting corner, Hearts were away on the break. Snodgrass was clean through the middle but while the spirit was willing, the 35-year-old's legs were less keen on running 65 yards at pace, Snodgrass poking his shot wide of the goal from the edge of the box when he might have taken the ball a few yards further.
Pollock could have had his second goal on 51 minutes when Clarkson's corner found him at the back post, but Pollock couldn't quite squeeze his header between Clark and the post.
Forrest caused some consternation on 55, his cross to the back post finding Ginnelly, but his header back to Snodgrass was too weak and Roos mopped up the danger. Hearts appealed strongly for a penalty a minute later when Ginnelly went down on the edge of the area, but neither the referee nor VAR were interested, quite rightly.
Shankland had a great opportunity as a clever pass from Ginnelly put him in behind, but Roos was quickly off his line to push the ball wide of the post on the hour mark.
The Dons were close to a fourth on 62 minutes, Coulson's corner finding Pollock's head again and his effort looked bound for the top corner until Clark extended his left arm to tip the ball over the top.
There was a strong tackle on Duk by Hill on halfway on 67 minutes that sparked a mass outbreak of arm waving, Sibbick, Hill, Miovski and Ramadani all yellow carded in the aftermath. Marley Watkins replaced Miovski immediately afterwards.
Clark had to produce a terrific reflex save on 72 minutes, a low shot from Ramadani flashing through the box, Duk getting a little deflection on it just eight yards out, Clark down low to scoop the ball away to safety.
Hearts introduced Humphrys and Grant for Ginnelly and Sibbick with 14 minutes left as they looked to find some consolation from the game. Duncan and Patrik Myslovic replaced Duk and Clarkson for the Dons eight minutes later.
Myslovic had a sight of goal on 88 minutes, but his drive at goal from a Shinnie cutback took a deflection off Duncan as it flew over the bar. Watkins collected a yellow card for a foul on Smith as the game edged into added time, and Smith went off injured to be replaced by Halliday, the last meaningful act of a glorious afternoon for the Dons.
6 minutes added at end of 1st half.
5 minutes added at the end of 2nd half.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, McCrorie, Scales, Shinnie, Miovski (Watkins 69), Lopes (Duncan 84), Ramadani, Hayes (Coulson 41), Pollock, Clarkson (Myslovič 84), MacDonald.

Unused Subs: Lewis, MacKenzie, Barron, Markanday, Richardson.

Bookings:  Ramadani (68),  Miovski (68),  Watkins (93).
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Clark, Smith (Halliday 95), Kiomourtzoglou (Forrest 46), Shanklan, Rowles, McKay, Cochrane (Kingsley 34), Sibbick (Grant 76), Ginnelly (Humphrys 76), Hill, Snodgrass

Unused Substitutes: Stewart, Devlin, Neilson, Kuol

Bookings:  Shankland 37,   Hill 68,   Sibbick 68
Attendance: 16,278
Visitors:1,540
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: David Dickinson
Next Match
Peterhead
A
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead