The Dons this evening lined up with Langfield in goal, Hayes at left back, Logan at right back with Anderson and Reynolds in the centre of defence. Jack and Flood were the central midfielders with Robson on the right and McGinn on the left. Pawlett had his usual free role in behind Rooney. This was Daugava's first ever game in Europe and although some of their players had European experience, many did not and you did wonder how they would cope, especially as they were playing in front of a 15,000 crowd. Aberdeen started the game on the front foot.
An early shot from Robson was saved by Emilijus Zubas in the Daugava goal. The Riga keeper was injured so Zubas was a reserve that was called up. On 5 minutes Pawlett made a good run into the box and floated a cross in but Ronney could not reach it. Then on 7 minutes Ryan Jack fired in a cross from the right but Rooney was stretching at the back post and headed it wide. On 9 minutes a dangerous free kick from Robson was punched away by the Daugava keeper.
Then on 10 minutes the first real opening. Robson did really well down the right. He put over a great cross which the keeper again looked uncomfortable with. The ball went over his head and the defenders and found Hayes coming in at the back post and with the goal unguarded he had a good chance but he took the shot first time and miscuqued his volley. The ball went back into the box but was eventually cleared. A goal looked like it was coming cross by Robson and Rooney was taken out by Borovski, not very slyly! Referee Rainville instantly pointed to the spot and booked Borovski for his troubles. Barry Robson wrestled the ball off Rooney who was also wanting to take it, and stepped forward after his usual long run up. However he did not catch the ball as sweetly as he would have liked and Zubas diving to his left was able to make a good save.
Shortly after that Zils was booked for a foul on Robson, and possibly something he said to the referee. The Latvians were not scared of a tackle and on 19 minutes Knap?is was booked for a foul on Logan. The penalty miss took some of the momentum out of the Dons play but slowly they started to get going again. Pawlett was causing havoc every time he got on the ball. He was picking up some good positions in the final third and on 24 minutes Flood played him in. Peter had time to pick out a player but his low cross was well claimed by Zubas. A few minutes later Pawlett made a superb burst into the box. He beat two defenders and found himself one on one with the keeper. He decided to cut the ball back to Rooney but the cross was just cut out. Peter should probably have been more selfish and hit a shot himself.
On 26 minutes Aberdeen were awarded another free kick after another rash challenge. Niall McGinn took it, bent it round the wall but the keeper read it and was able to punch clear. Just before the half hour another great chance. Jack faked to have a shot before threading the ball to Niall McGinn who had time to turn and shoot but his effort on goal was too central and the keeper was able to parry it away. On 31 minutes Adam Rooney then should have scored from a cross from the left but was unable to get a touch. Any contact would have led to a goal.
But then on 32 minutes the deadline was finally broken and it was made by one full back and scored another. The first cross by Jonny Hayes was blocked but the left back took his time and put over an inch perfect cross to the unmarked Shay Logan and the right back coolly headed home. It was a great ball by Hayes but poor marking inside the box. On 38 minutes Rooney was incredibly shown a yellow card for a challenge on the keeper despite there being very little contact.On 40 minutes another free kick in a very good area. From just on the edge of the box Niall McGinn curled it in but the ball just went over the bar. Pawlett was then taken out by Tomkevicius as the Latvian continued to put themselves about. It looked a bad tackle and Peter took some time to get back onto his feet. Just before half time the first corner of the game was won by the Dons but Robson's ball was punched clear by a keeper who was now looking a lot more confident. Still enough time for one more booking, Vitor Flora was given a yellow card for a tackle on Hayes.
The second half started off badly for the Dons. Peter Pawlett had tried to run off his injury and after treatment at half time it was hope he would be able to continue but unfortunately Peter had to go off shortly after the restart. He was replaced by Cammy Smith. Despite the loss of Pawlett Aberdeen stepped it up a gear and the Latvians could not cope. After a good move and great play by Ryan Jack the ball came over from the left and was not dealt with. Niall McGinn was able to get a shot away from close range. The keeper to his credit actually made a very good save but Niall was alert enough to hammer home the rebound. A minute later Niall very nearly got a second but this time he rattled the bar after Hayes had laid it into his path. The keeper if made a brilliant save to touch the ball onto the bar. It did not matter though as two became three on 51 minutes and the tie was over. The ball came over from the left and struck a Latvian in the box. Another penalty! Adam Rooney grabbed the ball and no one argued with him. The striker slowly stepped forward and put his penalty low to the keepers left. The keeper guest the right way but the shot was so well placed he could not get across. There was now some relief around Pittodrie and the players could also relax a bit. The task for the Latvians got even hard on 54 minutes. It was almost inevitable but with the yellow cards that were flying about that there would be a red one appearing. Zils made a poor challenge on the edge of the area and the referee had no choice. On 61 minutes a good ball in from Logan but Zubas clutched it well with Rooney nearby. Then a minute later another chance but Hayes headed over from close range.
The Dons were now completely dominating, although they had been doing that for most of the 90 minutes if the truth be told. Credit to Daugava players, their heads did not go down and they kept fighting. On 72 minutes from another cross Adam Rooney did really well to keep the ball in play at the back post and Jonny Hayes was on hand to stab the ball home for the fourth. The tie really was well and truly over now. Three minutes later another cross from the left, this time by Hayes, across the face of goal this time, should have led to number five but no one frustratingly was there to tap home.
On 76 minutes a Robson shot was deflected behind for only the second corner of the game! On 79 minutes Barry was replaced by young Scott Wright who was making his senior debut. Young Scott has only been at Pittodrie for one season but the 17 year old has impressed everyone especially Derek McInnes. He also impressed the red army tonight with some great runs of his left wing into the box and on a number of occasions very nearly set up a goal.
On 81 minutes the Latvians were down to ten men. Kučys received a second yellow card and was sent off. For an experienced player, who was already in a yellow card, it was poor decision making. On 82 minutes Willo Flood tried a shot from distance but the ball went well wide. Willo had a few shots from distance tonight but could not recreate so of his excellent strikes from last season. On the 89th minute Declan McManus replaced Niall McGinn. Niall had a very decent game and looks very sharp already. Then in the 90th minute the Dons made it five. It was probably the best goal of the night as well. The ball came in from the left from Jonny Hayes and Adam Rooney did a fantastic little flick which caught Zubas out and found the net. In fairness to the sub keeper, Zubas actually had a very decent game and had it not been for his performance the scoreline could have been more.