It was a night of missed opportunities in front of goal for the Dons as they slipped to defeat against BK Häcken and were forced to settle for Conference League football until Christmas.
Barry Robson made four changes to the side that drew 2-2 at St Mirren last Sunday with first Aberdeen starts for Richard Jensen, Jamie McGrath and James McGarry, Shayden Morris also coming back into the starting XI. Angus MacDonald, Jack MacKenzie, Dante Polvara and Jonny Hayes all started from the bench. Rhys Williams made his first appearance in the matchday squad this season, Jack Milne and Alfie Bavidge also added to the 12-man bench.
There was one change from the first leg for BK Häcken. Hammar was missing through suspension after his red card in the first game and was replaced by Tebo.
It was a brisk start from Aberdeen in front of a packed Pittodrie, a nice move from back to front ending with McGarry picking out Bojan Miovski who headed wide in the second minute.
Graeme Shinnie had the first real shot at goal on seven minutes, pouncing on a loose ball on the edge of the area and driving into the box before unleashing a shot that Abrahamsson pawed around the post.
Häcken had the next shot of the game on 14 minutes, and they made it count. After Häcken passed the ball around the edge of the Aberdeen box, Sadiq picked up the ball 25 yards out, feinted beyond Shinnie and then arrowed a vicious shot across Kelle Roos and into the corner of the goal for 1-0.
Duk was on the lookout for an equaliser three minutes later, driving forward past two players at inside-left and firing off a shot from a tight angle that Abrahamsson turned behind. Not unlike the first leg, it was already end to end stuff.
Sadiq was nearly in on 24 minutes, accelerating away before squaring to Layouni, Slobodan Rube i on hand to tidy things up and protect the Aberdeen goal. Duk should have taken full advantage of that escape, for the Dons were straight up the other end of the pitch, Duk one-on-one with the Häcken goalkeeper from a Miovski flick on, but only able to drive the ball straight at Abrahamsson.
There were loud claims for a penalty on 29 minutes as a Morris cross hit Fridriksson on the arm, but nothing was given. Fridriksson was booked moments later for time wasting.
McGarry had a low corner blocked away on 31, but he followed in as the ball was recycled and had his shot turned behind. Leighton Clarkson took the next corner, Jensen powering a header across the face of goal from the near post, Nicky Devlin onto it at the back post but he could only put it over the bar as he stretched to make contact. It was all Aberdeen though now and after Duk fired wide from 30 yards, McGrath had a shot deflected behind after 34 minutes.
Miovski was inches away from a leveller two minutes later. Clarkson floated in a lovely cross from the right, Miovski looping a header goal wards, Abrahamsson producing a brilliant save to tip the ball onto the woodwork.
It was the pace of Sadiq that undid Aberdeen again on 41 minutes, a quick break from the visitors, Gustafson into Rygaard who played a defence splitting ball behind the Dons defence, Sadiq producing a clinical first time finish from ten yards to double the lead for Sweden’s champions.
McGarry was a fraction away from getting a goal back on 44, stabbing a shot across the face of goal but just wide of the far post as Aberdeen looked for a way back into the tie. Häcken were back on the offensive, Layouni with a shot this time from the right edge of the box, Roos down to smother.
Amané wasn’t far away from another goal five minutes into added time, given too much time 25 yards out to fire off another vicious shot at goal, Roos tipping the ball over the bar.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 BK HÄCKEN 2
The game should have been over on 50 minutes. Lovely passing football from the visitors ended with Sadiq getting the ball at the by-line to square for Hrstic who was standing on his own, four yards out, in the middle of the goal. Somehow, he contrived to put the ball over the bar and Aberdeen were still alive. Just.
Aberdeen got the ball into the Häcken box on 53, Duk skipping beyond a tackle before he was hooked to the floor by Tebo, the clearest of penalties. It took VAR to make the decision, the referee having initially gestured that Duk had dived. From the 12 yard mark, Miovski sent Abrahamsson the wrong way and, just moments after Hrstic should have made it 3-0, it was suddenly 2-1 and game on again.
There was a horrible clash of heads between Fridriksson and Morris on 59 minutes, both sets of physios straight onto the pitch. Morris continued with a lump the size of a golf ball on the forehead, but Laursen became Häcken’s first change, replacing Fridriksson.
Aberdeen should have been level on 62. Jensen played a beautiful curling ball over the top that Miovski galloped onto. With just the back-pedalling Abrahamsson to beat, from the edge of the box his left foot shot bent around the goalkeeper but also around the post, another glorious opportunity gone begging.
Rygaard was in the book after 67 minutes for a tug on Rube i ’s shirt as the big defender went surging forward. Rygaard completed a lousy couple of minutes by firing well over the bar from 20 yards. McGrath was booked for pulling Amané’s shirt on 70 minutes.
Another quick break from Häcken cut Aberdeen open again on 72, the ball worked away to Layouni who saw his shot well blocked by Jensen as the Dons continued to live dangerously. Ryan Duncan replaced McGarry on 73 minutes.
Duk was denied again with 15 minutes to go. Duncan pulling the ball back to him 15 yards put, his drive goalwards parried away by Abrahamsson. Häcken were away up the other end, Sadiq cutting inside from the left and bending a shot around Roos, but thankfully the ball thudded away to safety off the post that Miovski had hit in the first half.
Sadiq was in again on 77 minutes, twisting and turning past Rube i before going to ground, the referee giving him a yellow card for simulation. The referee had got it wrong again because he then went to look at the VAR monitor and gave a penalty and rescinded the card. Layouni took the spot kick and rolled it into the bottom corner for 3-1. Amid it all, Ester Sokler had come on for McGrath for Aberdeen.
Aberdeen kept plugging away and a combination of Shinnie and Morris found Devlin sprinting in from the right on 86, but his drilled ball across goal flashed beyond the far post. Jonny Hayes replaced Morris after 88 minutes, Devlin booked for a late tackle on Hovland a minute later.
As the game headed into eight minutes of added time, Duk slung in a cross from the left, Sokler up highest to glance a header across goal but just over the bar. Momets later, Shinnie and Miovski exchanged passes inside the area, Miovski stroking the ball towards goal, Abrahamsson getting another in a long list of blocks as the tie ebbed away from the hosts.
5+1 minutes added at end 1st half.
8 minutes added at end 2nd half.