A glorious fightback from the Dons sees the play-off tie beautifully poised ahead of the second leg, Aberdeen clawing their way back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw in Gothenburg.
For this Europa League qualifier on the artificial surface in Gothenburg, Barry Robson named an unchanged Dons side from the team that defeated Stirling Albion in the Viaplay Cup last Friday. New signings Richard Jensen, Jamie McGrath and James McGarry were all on the 12-man bench, as was Alfie Bavidge.
The hosts started strongly, Sadiq having a cross cut out at the near post by Slobodan Rubezic in the second minute. A couple of early corners were conceded, but the Dons dealt with them with no problems.
Leighton Clarkson pinched the ball in midfield and set Bojan Miovski away in the fifth minute, but he put too much on his pass to Duk and a good chance went begging. Shayden Morris went galloping into space a couple of minutes later and won a corner after being picked out by a long pass from Clarkson. Three corners were won in quick succession, but nothing came of them.
Rubezic had to make a couple of important blocks as the hosts poured forward, but from there, Graeme Shinnie had Aberdeen’s first shot in anger on 10 minutes, combining with Duk on the counter-attack, his low, angled drive well saved by Abrahamsson.
Good play from Morris won the ball back on 14 minutes, allowing Clarkson to cross to the back post, but with Duk waiting to pounce, Hammar was able to produce an important defensive header clear. Rubezic was the first to be cautioned on 17 minutes, a harsh decision for a marginal foul on Hrstic 25 yards out.
A clever combination of passes between Miovski and Duk on the edge of the box ended in the number 9 having a shot deflected wide on 20 minutes as Aberdeen continued to threaten in a surprisingly open game. Dante Polvara had a shot blocked on 25 minutes after Shinnie did well to win back possession high up the pitch. Moments later, Barry Robson was booked, to his obvious bemusement. Polvara immediately followed him into the book for a high tackle on Hovland.
Kelle Roos was in meaningful action for the first time on 27 minutes, Sadiq wriggling into a shooting position and getting off a powerful drive that the Dutch keeper got behind.
The Dons were opened up on 37 minutes though and Layouni opened the scoring for the home side. Amane picked out Sadiq again in space and after he spotted Layouni unmarked at inside-left, he picked him out and with just Roos to beat, he did so with the minimum of fuss.
Häcken were looking for a second moments later, Sadiq running into space, Jack MacKenzie going with him, the striker throwing himself to the floor. No penalty, not even after a VAR check, but no booking for Sadiq for simulaion either.
Duk had a golden opportunity to equalise on 41 minutes, created by Shinnie driving forward to close down a defender from a pass out from the goalkeeper. The ball squirted forward to Duk who controlled it beautifully ten yards out, but the shot was weak and Abrahamsson was able to block.
At the other end, Sadiq should have scored, darting in at the back post to get on the end of a low cross from Layouni, MacKenzie getting there just in front of him, Roos completing the clear up job. Sadiq had another opportunity in added time, sprinting into the near post as Layouni crossed from the left, but his header was wide.
HALF-TIME: BK HÄCKEN 1 ABERDEEN 0
Sadiq was in the mood again right at the start of the second half, firing in a shot from 20 yards, but it was a comfortable save for Roos in the opening minute. Aberdeen settled again and Miovski forced a fine save from Abrahamsson on 55 minutes, collecting a deflected cross and firing in a low shot that had the goalkeeper at full stretch to save with his feet.
Polvara had a great opportunity to score what would have already been the goal of the season, a dozen passes that went from back to front, from Roos to Polvara who, from 16 yards out, clipped his shot over the bar on 55 minutes. Two minutes later, Roos was at full stretch to his left to keep the Dons in the game, making a fine save from a Hrstic header. Hammar was booked for hand ball moments later.
The first changes came on 63 minutes, Youssef and Abdulrazak replaced Amane and Hrstic. For the Dons, Angus MacDonald came on for Morris. Häcken won a corner in the aftermath, the ball brushing MacKenzie’s arm as it came across. The referee had a lengthy look at the video and awarded a penalty. Sadiq stepped up to take, hesitated on the run up, sat Roos down and rolled the ball into the corner for 2-0. Jamie McGrath and James McGarry were immediately sent on for their Aberdeen debuts, Polvara and Duncan making way.
Miovski wasn’t far away from getting Aberdeen back in the game on 73 minutes, a flicked header from a Clarkson cross at the near post drifting over the bar, another good opportunity gone begging for the Dons.
He didn’t miss two minutes later though. McGrath did well down the right before finding Clarkson. His ball in was missed by the first defender, Miovski taking it down and turning before drilling the ball past Abrahamsson. Another long VAR check followed, before the goal was finally confirmed.
Aberdeen had the bit between their teeth now and it was all square on 79 minutes through Nicky Devlin. Clarkson picked out Miovski, who did well to shrug off a challenge and then rolled a pass into the marauding run of Devlin who took a touch and then dinked the ball past the goalkeeper, a lovely composed finish. Ester Sokler replaced Duk in the aftermath.
It was all Aberdeen now. McGarry was away on the left, a dangerous cross recycled into the box, Miovski’s ferocious effort blocked to safety as the Dons looked for a winner.
There was a nasty collision in the box on 83, Abrahamsson coming for a cross, Sokler running into his shoulder and needing lengthy treatment before carrying on. While that was going on, Fridriksson and Sandberg went off, with Laursen and Totland coming on.
The home side weren’t finished though, hitting on the break in the 88th minute, Youssef drilling a shot across the face of goal and wide.
A terrible pass from Totland on 89 set Miovski on his way forward. Running deep into Häcken territory, Hammar pulled him down and got the inevitable second yellow card. Layouni was replaced by Tebo as the home side reorganised. From the free-kick 25 yards out, Clarkson put his effort over the wall but it wouldn’t come down quite quickly enough, looping over the bar.
Four minutes into added time, Aberdeen had the ball in the net again, McGrath sliding in to convert a Miovski cross, but Miovski was caught offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.
Shinnie was inches away on 99 minutes, collecting a loose ball on the edge of the box before pulling a right footed shot just wide of the post, the last action of a pulsating game.
3 minutes added at end of 1st half.
9 minutes added at end of 2nd half.