Aberdeen dominated this match against a physical Hearts side who were happy to waste time at every opportunity. The visitor's were reduced to ten men when Zaliukas, who had already been booked, was shown a straight red card in the 64th minute after an off the ball incident with Chris Maguire. Hearts collected another five yellow cards as the Dons pinned them back for long spells and were denied twice by the woodwork. The Edinburgh side held out for an undeserved point and now Aberdeen face an uphill task to qualify for Europe next season.
Aberdeen kicked off as the sun started to set on another sunny day in the north east of Scotland. Hearts won a very soft free kick in the 2nd minute only 40 yards out, but the chance was wasted as Aguiar fired well wide of the target. Two minutes later a shot from Elliot was fired across the face of the goal as the visitor's enjoyed the more positive start. However Vidal swung in a cross in the 5th minute, but there were no takers in the middle. Aberdeen then won their own soft free kick 40 yards out, but Kello had little trouble gathering the effort from Mulgrew.
The start of the match had been fairly scrappy and Hearts were penalised for stealing a few yards at a throw in after nine minutes as both sides struggled to retain possession. Aluko threatened again in the 12th minute, but once again the Hearts defence were on top. Four minutes later Aberdeen won the first corner of the match and they should really have taken the lead as a dangerous delivery from Mulgrew found Severin at the back post. Unfortunately for the third time in three matches the skipper fired into the side netting.
Both Smith and Aluko were looking lively in the early stages and in the 20th minute Aluko looked to have broken before the referee frustratingly pulled the play back. A minute later Aluko tested Kello, but it was an easy save for the keeper. Maguire and Smith combined well in the 23rd minute and this time Kello was severely tested and did well to stretch and deny Smith. Zaliukas collected the first yellow card a minute later for a cynical foul on McDonald. Hearts were awarded yet another soft free kick in the 26th minute and Langfield had to punch the ball clear. A minute later Aluko was blatantly obstructed, but this time there was no award.
Kingston went down injured in the 28th minute, but after lengthy treatment he was able to continue. Five minutes later Miller went very close as he got his head on to a Mulgrew cross, but steered it inches over the bar. Earlier in the move Aluko was cynically taken out by Kingston and the Hearts man was lucky to escape a caution. The officials frustrated the red army again as Kello pulled out all the stops to prevent a corner, failed in the process and then had a wee smirk to himself as the assistant awarded a goal kick.
Langfield was diving at full length in the 38th minute as Elliot drilled a low shot inches wide while at the other end a Smith drive was gathered by Kello. Templeton replaced the injured Kingston in the 40th minute and Hearts enjoyed a spell of pressure on the lead up to half time. Aberdeen managed to break quickly, but the promising move petered out in the final third. Deep in injury time Richard Foster screwed a shot wide of the target then Hearts almost grabbed a goal against the run of play as substitute Templeton breezed past several players and forced Langfield into a magnificent save to keep the Dons in the game.
The half started pretty much in the way the first had ended as Hearts were awarded another soft free kick in the opening minute. Fortunately Zaliukas fired the ball wide before Maguire had a glimpse of goal in the 4th minute, but was denied by Zaliukas. A minute later Langfield was forced to turn an Aguiar cross for a corner with Elliot lurking at the far post. Hearts won another soft free kick on the left as Aberdeen were forced to concede another corner. The Dons won the ball and broke quickly only to be put back under pressure by another soft award to the visitor's.
Aberdeen should have opened the scoring in the 54th minute as Maguire broke and had his shot parried into the path of Jamie Smith who hammered the ball against the post with the goal gaping. Foster was booked in the aftermath, but Aberdeen's tails were up now and the keeper could only block a stinging shot from Aluko as the home side looked for the breakthrough. Another soft free kick in the 58th minute produced a chance for Hearts, but Zaliukas headed well wide. Hearts were wasting time at every opportunity and surely a booking was well overdue. Elliot charged down a Mair clearance on the hour mark, but fortunately he took the ball too wide and fired across the face of the goal.
Two minutes later Mulgrew committed his first foul of the match and under great pressure from the Hearts players, the Aberdeen defender was cautioned. An off the ball incident was spotted by the assistant and the aftermath saw Zaliukas shown a straight red card with Aguiar collecting a yellow for his protests. After the dust had settled Mulgrew hit his free kick over the bar. Pawlett replaced Maguire in the 70th minute and a minute later Lee Mair played the ball off a Hearts attacker only for referee Finnie to award a corner kick. Hearts continued to waste time at every opportunity and the incidents continued to go unpunished.
Smith headed a Foster cross back across goal before the ball was scrambled clear and a minute later an Aluko shot was blocked on the edge of the box before Aguiar tried to waste more time by rolling about on the side line, but the referee waved play on as the visitor's tried every trick in the book to spoil the game. Templeton was cautioned for a late challenge on Vidal and the subsequent free kick had Kello rolling about the ground after he came for the ball and missed it completely. Smith then had a great chance in the 79th minute, but he fired wide as Hearts started to creak.
Jamie Smith pulled up a minute later and as he was down the ball came into the area and Miller headed wide as he was being held inside the box. Nothing was given and when the play stopped Smith was replaced by Duff. Aberdeen were turning the screw now and Duff won a corner kick in the 82nd minute, but the Dons still couldn't find the way to goal. Jonsson earned a yellow card for a blatant body check on Aluko, but unfortunately the free kick from Mulgrew went too long. Aberdeen were throwing everything at Hearts, but bodies were blocking everything that was thrown at them.
In the 89th minute Aluko went tumbling in the box, but nothing was given then seconds later Foster smashed the ball off the post as Aberdeen were denied the breaks. Aberdeen won a corner as the fourth official showed five minutes of injury time and Neilson finally collected a yellow. Kello easily gathered, but the Dons won another corner, but once again the keeper was able to claim the ball. A late free kick in the half way circle was taken by Langfield, but once again claimed by Kello as Hearts held out for an undeserved point, that could have turned into three as Nade fired wide in the closing seconds.