Derek McInnes made two changes to the side which drew at Pittodrie last week. Kenny McLean came back into the starting XI in place of Jayden Stockley whilst Wes Burns replaced the injured Jonny Hayes.
The Dons lined up with Joe Lewis in goal, and a back four of Logan, Reynolds, Taylor and Considine. Jack and Shinnie were the sitting midfielders with Burns on the left, McGinn on the right and McLean playing in behind Rooney.
Before the game there was a minutes silence as a mark of respect for the two young Maribor players who tragically died in a car accident earlier this week.
Not surprisingly the match kicked off with a slightly subdued atmosphere. The temperature had been over 30 degrees for most the day and even though the sun had disappeared down the back of the stand it was still very humid.
The opening exchanges were always going to be crucial.
In the first minute Ash Taylor produced a good defensive header after a deep cross from the right and then at the other end McGinn almost got on the end of a Rooney flick on.
As expected the home side were enjoying more of the possession but their passing was not hurting Aberdeen. In the sixth minute Wes Burns got his first touch and the Welsh winger did well to win a corner. McGinn's deep ball in found Considine at the back of the area but his header looped up and dropped harmlessly wide.
10 minutes in and Aberdeen had settled well.
The atmosphere was now starting to build and the 300 or so Aberdeen fans were also making their voices heard. In the 11th minute a long ball was knocked down by Novakovic into the path of Vrsic. His shot was well hit but Lewis was well positioned to make a routine save. In the 13th minute Burns made another good run but in the end he was well tackled by Bohar. Then a minute later a superb through ball from McGinn picked out Burns who had run in behind the defence and was completely unmarked but he could not quite control the ball and Handanovic gathered at the second attempt. A really good opening.
Aberdeen were doing well. They were forcing their opponents to hurry their passes and they did not look comfortable. Jack, Shinnie and McLean were beginning to get on top in the middle of the park.
22 minutes in and McLean was taken down as he ran forward. As Aberdeen appealed for a free kick the Maribor defence lost concentration and a back pass from Suker was picked up by Rooney and as he rounded the keeper he was brought down. Although McGinn rolled the ball into the empty net the Bulgarian referee awarded a penalty and the keeper under the new rules was given a yellow card and not a red one, there was a case for the red as he showed no intention of playing the ball.
Very harsh on The Dons when advantage could and probably should have been played.
The referee then took ages to allow the spot kick to take place, and in deafening noise Adam Rooney saw his spot kicked saved by Handanovic after the big keeper dived to his right.
Aberdeen then forced a couple of corners, the second of which fell to Considine but his driven shot was blocked. Then in the 28th minute Maribor went close when a corner was headed just wide by Tavares.
In the 34th minute more good pressing in the middle of the park from the Dons allowed Burns to get a run in on goal. He had options to the left and right of him but decided to shoot himself and his effort was well hit but far too straight.
In the 35th minute Graeme Shinnie picked up a harsh yellow card. In the 38th minute Novakovic also picked an equally soft card. From the resulting free kick Taylor flicked it on. Incredibly three defenders let the ball bounce inside the six yard box and in the end Handanovic did well to gather the ball from behind Rooney.
On 42 minutes more suspect defending allowed Shinnie to get on the end of a ball over the top but his shot was once again well saved by the feet of Handanovic.
In the final minute of the half an Aberdeen corner put more pressure on the defence but as the ball bounced about the box they were helped out by the referee who awarded a free kick for some reason that was not obvious on first viewing.
The half time whistle then sounded with the Dons and Burns again in a promising position. Despite the missed penalty this was a decent first forty five from the men in red.
No changes for either team at half time and there was a chance for the Dons in the 46th minute when a long Considine throw was flicked on by Taylor. The ball ran through to McGinn but from a tight angle he blasted the ball over.
Then a minute later a Logan free kick from deep was flicked on again by Taylor but referee Popov gave a free kick against the Aberdeen central defender. He then incensed the Dons further when he awarded Maribor a soft free kick 30 yards out. Lewis did well to punch the shot from Vrsic clear and then claimed a good catch as the ball came back into the danger area.
On 49 minutes there was a great chance for Novakovic when the ball was cut back to him on the edge of the area but his shot was extremely weak.
On 50 minutes the first change. Jayden Stockley replaced Wes Burns. Then another great chance for Novakovic as he turned on the edge of the area but his shot was very well saved by Lewis who would not have seen the ball till very late. Novakovic then shielded the ball for Vrsic but his shot always rising and Lewis was able to watch it go over his bar without too much alarm.
The referee continued to frustrate Aberdeen. Popov decided to book Stockley as he challenged for a ball in the air. Then minutes later Janza was only given a yellow card for what appeared to be an elbow on Ryan Jack.
Just before the hour mark another flick on by Taylor caused more problems but the ball failed to land at the feet of an Aberdeen player. Then a ball in from the right was won by Considine at the back after it had gone over the keepers head but the ball looped out of play.
On the hour mark disaster for the Dons as Jayden Stockley was shown a second yellow card another challenge in the air. After a dominant aerial display at Pittodrie the striker was given no chance to use his attributes in the air on this occasion by the referee.
Having to play the last half hour with only ten men was going to be a really tall order for the visitors.
On 65 minutes Derek McInnes reshuffled his pack and brought on Miles Storey for McLean.
A minute later Considine put over a great cross which was just missed by Storey, Rooney and then Logan before some more baffling decisions from the man from Bulgaria who was not allowing any aerial challenges to be contested.
The home side, who were by now getting quite a bit of stick from their own fans for their lack of invention, made a change and Bohar was replaced by Bajde. Another change followed shortly after, Kabha coming on for Pihler. On 78 minutes a great chance for captain Tavares at the back post but he pulled his shot wide.
Aberdeen were showing amazing energy levels but they were not getting the same possession in the final third.
The game was now really open and on 80 minutes Considine produced a brilliant tackle on Tavares. Then on 82 minutes Jack made an equally brilliant tackle on Vrsic.
With seven minutes to go Scott Wright replaced Niall McGinn as Aberdeen made their final change.
On 84 minutes a rare break for the Dons after a great interception by Considine. Storey played it wide to Rooney and although Adam worked room for a shot his effort was comfortably saved.
On 87 minutes a smart turn and shot produced a good save from Lewis who had to get down quickly. One minute later the home side made their final change as Vrsicwas was replaced by Sallalich.
Late on Aberdeen threw a number of decent balls into the area but each time the assistant referees flag went for offside. There were five minutes of injury time but the Dons could not force a final opening despite Taylor going up front and in the final minute a bobble in front of Lewis after a back pass from Shinnie saw the ball land up in the net.
A cruel cruel night for the Dons who deserved so much more. Over the two legs the Dons did more than enough to win this tie but paid the penalty for not taking their chances.