Aberdeen produced a fine performance at Pittodrie this evening and were unlucky not to take a lead to Ukraine in two weeks time. The Dnipro keeper made an international class save in the 5th minute of both halves. He denied Considine in the 5th minute and turned a net bound effort from Chris Clark on to his post in the 50th minute. Aberdeen carved out several other chances but Jamie Langfield, making his first start of the season, was also required to make a couple of fine saves to keep the visitor's out. The players received a standing ovation at the end and will now be looking for at least a score draw in the Ukraine to make the group stages.
Aberdeen kicked off in a red-hot atmosphere at Pittodrie with the crowd well up for the occasion. Dnipro threatened in the 3rd minute when they won a free kick 20 yards out, but the set play was well defended as the ball was whipped in. A minute later Hrytsay had a shot from 30 yardsl out but it went well wide. Aberdeen almost opened the scoring a minute later when Severin whipped in a free kick and the keeper made a point blank save from Andrew Considine six yards out. Severin then did well and released Hart on the right but everyone missed his cross.
The dons won a second corner kick in the 8th minute and Nicholson's delivery was headed clear as Diamond looked to pounce. Dnipro were rattled by the Dons whirlwind start but they looked comfortable on the ball and posed a real threat when they broke forward. Nicholson released Young on the right in the 13th minute but the cross was rather floated in and the keeper made a comfortable catch. Dnipro broke a minute later as Samodin latched on to a poor clearance but fired weakly into the side netting.
Dnipro enjoyed a period of possession without threatening the Dons goal and the game was held up for a few minutes as a Ukraine player picked up a knock. Nazarenko collected the first yellow of the match for his second late challenge of the game, but the free kick was wasted. Chris Clark won a corner in the 23rd minute and Smith's delivery was headed wide by Diamond arriving late on the scene. Kravchenko then tried from distance but he was well wide of the target. Dnipro went even closer in the 27th minute when Considine needed a last gasp tackle on Samodin to concede a corner. The corner was whipped in and caused a few flutters for the Pittodrie faithful.
A long throw from Severin threatened inside the Dnipro box and there was a half hearted penalty appeal that was quickly dismissed. A quick free kick by Lee Miller on the half hour mark should have released Chris Clark, but his cut back was too deliberate and too late. A minute later Dnipro went very close when Nazarenko fired inches over following a quick break. Nicholson then tripped Nazarenko 30 yards out but fortunately the effort went well wide. At the other end Severin released Nicholson but the midfielder failed to get any power behind the shot. The match was raging from end to end now and Nazarenko showed great footwork before firing the ball over.
A high ball into the penalty area in the 40th minute caused Dnipro problems as Jamie Smith had a shot blocked. The resultant corner saw the defence relieved by a soft decision from the referee who was having a good game. A minute later Young had a great chance to deliver a dangerous cross but his effort was fired out of play before Severin had a glimpse of goal but elected to try and thread the ball through to Miller, but the striker was crowded out.
There were no changes at the interval but Dnipro started well and Langfield was forced to tip the ball over the bar from a snap shot from 25 yards out. Aberdeen defended the corner easily and raced up the field to win their own corner but once again the referee stopped play as the ball was played into the danger area. Aberdeen were very unlucky again in the 50th minute when Chris Clark cut in from the left and unleashed a great shot that produced another world class save. Kernozenko was at full stretch to touch the effort on to the post as the red army were on their feet ready to celebrate the opener.
Aberdeen went close again two minutes later when Jamie Smith had a great effort blocked. Dnipro were on the back foot again and the Dons were unlucky not to be ahead at this stage. There were appeals for a spot kick in the 56th minute as Diamond clearly had his shirt pulled. The referee had been penalising the attack for less throughout the match. A Derek Young cross was then cleared as Aberdeen looked to find an opening. Kravchenko was booked in the 58th minute for time wasting before Aberdeen continued their assault on the Dnipro goal. Chris Clark should have done better in the 64th minute but failed to cross the ball early and had to settle for a corner.
A minute later A Young shot was deflected for another corner as Aberdeen increased the pressure. Dnipro had a great goal scoring chance in the 69th minute when substitute L'opa beat the offside trap but the defence scrambled back to cover. Steve Lovell replaced Young in the 70th minute and a minute later Clark should have opened the scoring but fired wide from close range. Foster then replaced McNamara as they looked for a bit of luck to turn the game. Diamond made an important headed clearance in the 75th minute and seconds later Langfield somehow bundled the ball round the post from a Kankava shot.
Dnipro were now enjoying a good period of the match as Aberdeen were forced to defend, but the 15,431 crowd were still well behind the reds. Aberdeen were pinned back at this stage as tired legs struggled to maintain possession. This was epitomised by Foster who was too easily dispossessed in the 84th minute when Aberdeen looked to have an attacking opportunity. L'opa went close again a minute later as he cut inside and fired the ball inches wide of Langfield's goal. Aberdeen responded in the 88th minute when a goalmouth scramble ended with a headed clearance. Another cross was well defended as Aberdeen threw everything at the Ukrainians
The fourth official signalled four minutes of injury time as the crowd continued to roar the Dons forward. Hart picked up the Dons first yellow card in injury time and Lee Mair replaced Clark seconds later. Aberdeen had some more defending to do but they did this admirably until Considine gave away cheap possession and was let off the hook by another fine save from Langfield. The Dons succeeded in keeping a clean sheet and were unlucky not to take a one-goal lead across to the Ukraine, but the Pittodrie faithful recognised the great effort and gave the team a rousing reception at the end.