Derek McInnes named an unchanged starting XI from the one that beat Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday. So it was Langfield, in goal, Shaughnessy at right back, Robertson at left back with Reynolds and Anderson in the centre of defence. Flood and Jack anchored the midfield with McGinn wide right and Hayes wide left and Pawlett floating in behind Calvin Zola up front.
The home side started the game on top. After 2 minutes Anier hit a shot on the turn from 20 yards which went just wide but Langfield had it covered all the way. There was some major controversy on 4 minutes. The Dons failed to clear their lines and Ryan Jack hit the ball off Carswell and the ball landed up at the feet of John Sutton who from about seven yards out beat the outstretched Langfield and the ball landed in the net. Sutton appeared miles offside and the Aberdeen defence just stopped. At first it looked as if referee John Beaton had awarded the goal. After about 10 seconds he must had got a word in his earpiece from someone and eventually the goal was chalked off. Not before the Motherwell players had celebrated and the Motherwell goal music had been played.Linesman Graham Chambers on the near side did not raise his flag and TV replays showed Sutton might well have been onside.
Then on 13 minutes there was a major incident for the officials and a hammer blow for the Dons.
Joe Shaughnessy was red carded for a tackle on Angol. It was the first foul of the game, and whilst it was a poor challenge from Joe, there was no intent, just slightly rash and mistimed. The referee had no hesitation though and pulled out the red almost immediately.
Derek McInnes reorganised the side by putting Ryan Jack to right back and then on 20 minutes Calvin Zola was sacrificed and replaced by Andrew Considine. Andy went to left back and Clark Robertson moved forward to left midfield. Hayes and Flood were then the central midfielders with Pawlett wide right. Niall McGinn was now the loan striker.
To play almost 80 minutes with 10 men was always going to be a very tall order.
On 24 minutes Hayes did well down the left and put over a good low cross but unfortunately there were no white jerseys in the box. It is a chance Zola would have lapped up. Then on 26 minutes Hutchinson was booked for a challenge on Pawlett as he burst forward. Niall went flying up in the air and the red army appealed for a red card. The referee got this one right- it was a yellow card as it was just a mistimed tackle. On the half hour mark Motherwell won the first corner of the game. The ball was laid off to Paul Lawson, Russell Anderson's brother in law, but he scuffed his shot harmlessly wide.
After a series of Motherwell corners, which the Dons defended with ease, on 40 minutes Aberdeen broke and Hayes put in a great cross from the right which Motherwell keeper Gunnar Nielsen dropped. The ball hit a defender and looked as if it might go over the line but Hutchinson recovered and managed to hack the ball to safety.
On 43 minutes the Dons were down to nine men as Clark Robertson lay on the side lines after pulling up with an injury. The game carried on and amazingly it was the Dons who almost scored. McGinn broke clear and went into the box. He was at a tight angle and before he could get a shot away and McManus got back to block just in time. Robertson was stretchered away and replaced by Scott Vernon. The Dons then won two corners which McGinn played into the near post area. It is obviously something the Dons had identified before the game and targeted. On both occasions the Motherwell defence and keeper failed to deal with the cross and on both occasions the Dons could have scored. As it was referee Beaton blow his whistle for half time.
At the start of the second half Anier went down in the box as Motherwell appealed for a penalty. It would have been a very soft decision. Then Stuart Carswell was booked for hacking down McGinn who had got passed him. The Dons had a free kick in a good position but Ryan Jack failed to get the ball past the first defender. It was vital the Dons utilised any dead ball situation in dangerous areas better than that.
Motherwell then started to put some sustained pressure on for the first time and on the hour mark the home side should have taken the lead. Angol got to the byline line before cutting a good ball back into the path of the on rushing Carswell. He was able to get a shot on target from about 15 yards but it was a poor effort and Langfield parried it away. It was the only time all night the Dons defence failed to deal with a cross.
The Dons continued to do well- Considine, Anderson and Reynolds were outstanding at the back - and on the break they did look dangerous a couple of times, McGinn very nearly finding an unmarked Vernon and on another occasion Ryan Jack got the better of his man in the box but instead of shooting tried to get the ball back onto his right foot and Hammell was able to recover.
On 71 minutes a major let off for the Dons as Ainsworth's corner found Hutchinson but his header came off the bar.On 75 minutes the Dons won a corner after a rare attack but were unable to do anything with it. On 80 minutes Anderson was booked for winning a header with Lasley which seemed a very harsh decision.
A minute later the Dons had a good chance when McGinn almost wriggled free. The Motherwell defence looked a bag of nerves at this stage. The ball was worked back and Pawlett had a shot which was palmed away by Nielsen and Vernon's rebound was deflected into the side netting. The corner was played in by Hayes, this time he put the ball to the back post area where he found Andrew Considine. His towering header from six yards found the net and unbelievably the Dons had taken the lead. The Red Army behind the goal went absolutely mental.
Derek McInnes made his last substitution almost immediately and Peter Pawlett was replaced Barry Robson.
In the final stages it was the Dons who looked more like scoring. McGinn and Vernon combined and McGinn's cross very nearly found Vernon in the box. Then Vernon and McGinn both had good chances. On 90 minutes Motherwell won a corner and had a number of shots but the Dons blocked brilliantly and Vernon was able to take the ball away. Just like Saturday he played in Hayes who was free on the left. The winger still had a lot to do and just as the chance looked as if it was lost he hammered the ball past Nielsen. More celebrations for the Red Army- who were as magnificent as the team this evening - all 2,635 of them.
This was one of the finest defensive Aberdeen performances for a long time. Russell Anderson was simply outstanding and the captain and his team mates have a semi-final to look forward to at the start of next year.