Zander Diamond took the armband for this match and the Dons made the perfect start as Duff set up Aluko for the opening goal after only 15 seconds. Subsequently it was all Aberdeen with Dundee rarely threatening the goal. On the one occasion that they did, Eric Paton fired home a free kick from 18 yards as the Dons defensive wall looked weak. Rab Douglas saved a Miller spot kick in the 45th minute and after Dundee made nine changes at the interval the match changed dramatically. Neither side created too much, with Dundee going closest in a poor quality second half.
Diamond was captain for the day as Aberdeen made a sensational start to the match with a goal after only 15 seconds. Duff set up Sone Aluko, and in a finish similar to the goal he scored on Wednesday, the young striker calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. Aberdeen threatened again in the 5th minute as a Mulgrew corner was flicked on by Miller and Douglas had to look lively to clear. Two minutes later Dundee won their first corner of the match and Langfield dominated his goal and clutched the ball safely.
Paton went close again in the 10th minute and two minutes later Aluko was terrorising the defence again and won a second corner that was comfortably dealt with. Four minutes later Aluko set up Paton, but his shot was deflected for another corner. Aberdeen were dominating the match at this stage and playing some good football as they looked comfortable in possession. Around the 20 minute mark Dundee put the Dons under some pressure culminating in the award of a free kick on the eighteen yard line.
From the resultant set play Paton made it 1-1 as Langfield was given little protection from the wall. The Dons hadn't looked too clever for the goal as they struggled to clear and although the free kick was rather soft, the wall did little to protect the goal. Mulgrew tried to get the Dons back in front after McDonald was taken down on the edge of the Dundee box, but the effort never threatened the goal. A minute later Paton set up Miller and the home side were forced to concede another corner. Aluko released Miller in the 27th minute, but the striker was adjudged offside in what looked a very tight decision.
Another corner on the half hour mark put the home defence under pressure before play was halted for a rather dubious offside decision. Douglas had to look sharp again in the 33rd minute as the Dons continued to dominate the play despite having lost a goal in the only attack that Dundee had so far built. Paton once again set up Miller in the 36th minute, but the striker was unable to finish. The Dons won their umpteenth corner in the 41st minute and Douglas was forced to punch clear as the wicked delivery from Mulgrew caused problems.
A Miller shot a minute before the break was deflected for another corner and seconds later the same player was taken down inside the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Miller dusted himself down and took the ball, but unfortunately it was not well struck and Rab Douglas made a comfortable save.
Dundee made nine changes at the interval but Mark McGhee made only one change as Maguire replaced Aluko. Hopefully this was just a precaution and Dundee won the first corner of the second half in the 47th as Diamond picked up a knock. Zander hadn't recovered from the knock and he worryingly went off in the 53rd minute and was replaced by Holm. Dundee won a second corner and the set play was headed over.
Dundee were enjoying more possession and Langfield was forced into a save from Darren Young. The Dons were struggling to find the rhythm of the first half, but Maguire won a dangerous free kick in the 58th minute. Unfortunately the cross from Mulgrew was too heavy although Maguire had a decent effort seconds later. Mackie replaced Paton on the hour mark and a minute later another Mulgrew free kick was once again over hit. Mulgrew made a much better delivery in the 65th minute but it was missed by McDonald and headed out for a corner.
Jamie Langfield was forced into a magnificent save two minutes later after the Dundee player beat Holm and hit a fierce shot that the keeper did well to save. The game was a lot closer this half and the Dons fans in the 3,613 crowd were beginning to rue the missed chances of the opening 45 minutes. The home side won another corner in the 71st minute, but Aberdeen managed to scramble the ball clear. A minute later Dundee went close again from a free kick, but the ball was eventually turned over the bar.
Stewart replaced Miller in the 83rd minute and seconds later Maguire had a half chance, but couldn't convert. This was certainly a game of two halves as Dundee dominated the second half. Griffiths had two chances in the space of a minute but failed to find the target. Young was replaced by Ross in the 85th minute and two minutes later Stewart set up Kerr on the edge of the box, but he failed to get a decent connection.
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Mark McGhee spoke to RedTV after the game "I was pleased enough with the performance but that is not what I was looking at today. I was looking for aspects of play we have been working on, understanding in terms of the things we have been asking them to do, elimination of things we maybe did the other night in Peterhead that we are trying to cut out. Generally an exercise in terms of fitness although that is not a priority as we have plenty of time to train between now and Thursday. Overall as an exercise it was good.
"Dundee changed the team at half time which gave them a lot of fresh legs which we did not have.
"It is about the things I see with individuals that I can go away and work on and improve so I am ready to prepare a team for Thursday night such as playing from the back, making less poor decisions at the back, looking at the balls we were playing down the channels which Stuart Duff did do very well in the first half. It is not just about playing the ball into feet, you have to mix it up a bit to keep the opposition guessing."
Mark is also still hopeful there will be new faces at Pittodrie before Thursday. "I hope so. I am still taking phone calls. I think we are closer to signing Reda Johnson and we are also trying to sign a goalkeeper.
Despite two key players suffering knocks today the manager is confident both will be ok for Thursday. "Sone came off for protection. He is fit and sharp enough so he did not need another 45 minutes. He started preparing for Thursday night at half time. Zander should hopefully be ok as well."
Richard Foster missed the game today but he is ok for Thursday.