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Rangers 1 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Rangers 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Rangers scorers: Cantwell 65

07/05/2023 | KO: 15:00

Dons Suffer First Defeat in Seven Games

A determined Aberdeen side were left to rue two missed first half chances as a relieved Rangers finally found a way through a resilient Dons rearguard to win the game at Ibrox. Manager Barry Robson made just one change to the team that beat Rangers 2-0 at Pittodrie last time out, Hayden Coulson coming in for the injured Ross McCrorie, Jonny Hayes captaining the team. Joe Lewis, Shayden Morris and Jayden Richardson all returned to the bench, Jay Gorter and Patrik Myslovic missing out. After Rangers lost the Scottish Cup semi-final 1-0 to Celtic last Sunday, they made five changes to their side, Robby McCrorie, Ridvan Yilmaz, Rabbi Matondo, Ianis Hagi and Fashion Sakala replacing Allan McGregor, Borna Barisic, Malik Tillman, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, the latter starting on the bench. Rangers were the first to show, good possession in the Aberdeen half giving Cantwell room to unleash a shot from 25 yards that flew just over the bar in the third minute. Not unlike the game at Pittodrie a fortnight ago, it was Rangers who enjoyed the best of the early possession, the Dons finding it tough to get hold of the ball in the early exchanges but defending well to keep the home side at bay. It was Cantwell again on 19 minutes, Sakala cushioning a cross down to him with his chest on the edge of the box, Cantwell's sharp effort curling just wide of the post. Duk had Aberdeen's first real run at the Rangers defence, terrorising them down the left in the 24th minute, but his cut-back for Bojan Miovski only found a defender. Rangers were up the other end from there, Lundstram's jabbed shot at goal deflected over by Angus MacDonald. Duk went down needing treatment following the corner, before he was pronounced fit to continue. He very nearly had the Dons in front on 27. Miovski intercepted a Rangers pass on halfway and darted forward on the break, advancing to the edge of the Rangers area before picking out Duk's run at inside-left. He looked set to score with his poked shot at goal from ten yards, but McCrorie did really well to save down to his right at the near post. Liam Scales was shoved to the floor on 32 minutes by Cantwell after the two had tangled over a long ball forward. Cantwell ran towards Scales, put two hands on the Aberdeen defender and pushed him over. Only a yellow card was issued. Hayes was also booked for trying to calm things down as players from both sides clashed. Two minutes later as the Dons broke, turned Goldson who had both arms around Duk on the edge of the area but play was allowed to continue. Kelle Roos was called into sharp action for the first time on 39 minutes, punching clear off Sakala's eyebrows as he looked set to nod the ball in from four yards out. A minute later he was quick off his line to charge down a Sakala shot as he got in behind the defence amid the pouring rain. He did it again in the 43rd minute after Sakala was played through yet again, Roos standing tall to block. Duk should have had Aberdeen in front in the 44th minute. The Dons broke quickly through Miovski who played a lovely ball through to get Duk ahead of the chasing defenders. McCrorie came off his line to meet him and from 25 yards out, Duk looked to lob the goalkeeper but got too much loft on it and the ball ended on the roof of the net. Davies then needed treatment to an injury and had to be replaced by Souttar. There was still time for Roos to have to get behind another drive from Tavernier, the big goalkeeper able to push the ball to safety seconds before the half-time whistle. HALF-TIME: RANGERS 0 ABERDEEN 0 The Dons got away with one at the start of the second half. Matondo wriggled into room at the by-line and speared the ball through the six yard box. Hayes looked to clear, his effort smashing against the crossbar and bouncing clear. Sakala finally had the ball in the net after 52 minutes, receiving a clever pass from Cantwell, but the Rangers man was clearly offside. Mattie Pollock was inches away from the opener at the other end two minutes later, a deep corner reaching him at the back post, McCrorie up well to claw his header over the bar. Ylber Ramadani was teed up for a shot on 57 minutes after Leighton Clarkson found Duk on the right. He skipped past a scything tackle from Goldson then pulled the ball back to the corner of the area, but, running onto it, Ramadani blazed his effort over. A string of Rangers corners finally broke Aberdeen's resistance on 65 minutes, a deep delivery to the back post from the third of them allowing Cantwell to produce a guided volley back across goal and in. In the aftermath, Rangers made a quadruple change, Arfield, Wright, Morelos and Kamara replacing Matondo, Sakala, Hagi and Raskin. Wright nearly made an impact, a mazy run forward on the 72 minutes ending with is driven shot being deflected just over the bar. Following an Aberdeen break forward, both Duk and Miovski went down in the Rangers box, but the home side carried on playing and were inches away from a second goal, Hayes' deflection on Wright's cross spinning just wide of goal. Marley Watkins and Conor Barron were introduced before the corner was taken on 76 minutes, replacing Ryan Duncan and the injured Miovski. Duk was replaced by Morris four minutes later. Morris wasn't far away from an equaliser on 83 minutes. Hayes drove forward and found Watkins. A neat pass gave Morris a sight of goal, but McCrorie was down well to save with his feet after Morris had done well to create space for himself, getting away from Lundstram. Alfie Bavidge was the Dons' last change, on for Clarkson on 88 minutes. Watkins collected a loose ball some 20 yards out in the 89th minute, screwing his low shot wide of the target as the Dons tried to find an equaliser. Moments later, Bavidge got his angles wrong and put a header wide from 15 yards out, the last meaningful action of the day.
3 minutes added at end of 1st half 4 minutes added at end of 2nd half.
Rangers Teamsheet
McCrorie, Tavernier, Goldson, Davies (Souttar 45+2), Yilmaz, Lundstram, Raskin (Kamara 66), Matondo (Arfield 66), Cantwell, Hagi (Morelos 66), Sakala (Wright 66) UnusedSubstitutes: McLaughlin, King, Devine, Lowry

Bookings:  Cantwell 32
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Scales, Miovski (Watkins 76), Lopes (Morris 80), Ramadani, Hayes, Pollock, Clarkson (Bavidge 88), Coulson, Duncan (Barron 76), MacDonald.

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

Bookings:  Clarkson (32),  MacDonald (91).
Attendance: 46,961
Visitors:731
Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
Referee: John Beaton