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Aberdeen 2 - 2 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 1 Rangers

Aberdeen scorers: Mike 56, Mackie 74.
Rangers scorers: Numan 24, Ferguson 78

16/11/2002 | KO: 12:30

Second half comeback seals draw

A stirring second half display gave the Dons a deserved draw at Pittodrie against Rangers. After a poor first half display which found the Dons a goal behind, Aberdeen reverted to a 4-4-2 formation and dominated the second half. Goals from Mike and Mackie put the Dons in the driving seat, but a disputed penalty in the 77th minute gave the visitors a point they barely deserved. Even in the closing seconds Klos was forced to produce a fine save to deny Deloumeaux the winner.

Both sides made a nervy start with little being created in the opening five minutes of the match. Rangers were having the bulk of the possession and should have taken the lead in the 6th minute. Arveladze looked off side as he collected a De Boer pass, but he was allowed to continue and his square pass should have been buried by Mols. Fortunately the ball got caught between his legs and Preece was able to collect. Two minutes later Ferguson shot over from 20 yards as the Dons struggled to create anything in the Rangers half of the field.

The Dons finally forced their first corner in the 11th minute and Arveladze had to look lively to clear the danger with McGuire waiting to pounce. At the other end Latapy had a dig from the edge of the box, but Preece gathered well. Seconds later Bisconti was released on the right, but his cross was poor and the danger was easily cleared. The Red Army were getting increasingly frustrated as the visitors were awarded the bulk of the decisions by Mr. Dougal. They were surprised then in the 18th minute when Ricksen was told by the official to get up after taking a theatrical tumble after a challenge from Derek Young.

The visitors went close again in the 21st minute when a defence-splitting pass was played through to De Boer. Fortunately he slipped as he controlled the ball and Preece was able to collect. Rangers went ahead in the 24th minute when Numan hit the ball beyond Preece from the edge of the box when there looked to be little danger. The Dons tried to hit back, but once again the final ball from Bisconti was poor and the chance was wasted.

The visitors almost extended their lead in the 31st minute when McGuire headed an Arveladze effort over the bar from a yard out. The Dons were doing a lot of huffing and puffing, but the final ball was simply not good enough to cause Rangers any problems. Bisconti picked up an injury and was replaced in the 39th minute by Fergus Tiernan.

Seconds later it looked as though Mike had a chance to level, but was stopped by the flag. The Dons' defensive wall successfully blocked a Rangers free kick in the 41st minute before Ferguson sent an effort high over the bar. Minutes later Mols should have made it two, but Preece did really well to block the effort.

Numan tried to double his haul in the opening minute of the second half, but Preece had little difficulty in saving. Two minutes later Aberdeen forced a corner and Anderson headed wide as he outjumped Malcolm. Mackie went very close in the 50th minute as he stretched inside the box to shoot. Unfortunately it meant he got under the ball too much and sent it inches over with Klos beaten. The Dons were now looking a much better prospect than at any time in the opening half.

Darren Young hit a peach of a shot in the 55th minute, which Klos did really well to stretch and tip round the post. The resultant corner brought joy for the Dons when Mike headed home from close rage following a fine delivery from Deloumeaux. In the aftermath the net burst, but this was more to do with a defenders desperate attempt to keep the ball out rather than the power of the header. Nevertheless the match was delayed as the netting was fixed.

After the delay the momentum went out of the match allowing Rangers to get their passing game going again, but Mackie's pace was causing problems as the Dons change to a 4-4-2 formation had more success. Both Mackie and Anderson had efforts easily saved from Klos. Deloumeaux became the first player to be booked when he collected a yellow card in the 69th minute. Mike did well to turn Malcolm on the hour mark. Unfortunately he delayed as he headed into the box and Malcolm got back to dispossess him.

The Dons were getting their passing game together now and took a deserved lead in the 74th minute. A fine Rutkiewicz cross was bulleted into the net by Darren Mackie. Rangers immediately replaced the ineffective Mols with McCann and within seconds he delivered a fine cross which Arveladze glanced goalwards and Preece did well to save. In the 77th minute Rangers were awarded their obligatory penalty when McGuire was adjudged to have tripped Ricksen. Ferguson stepped to score an undeserved equaliser.

Aberdeen then introduced Michie in place of Mike as they set out to try and grab the winner. Thornley then managed to get himself booked despite the fact he was warming up behind the goal. Barry Ferguson was booked a minute later for a foul on Tiernan. In a grandstand finish by the Dons a Darren Young effort was blocked by Ferguson, Anderson had a header deflected wide and in the closing seconds Klos pulled off a tremendous block from a Deloumeaux shot. Unfortunately none of the Dons front men followed the shot in to net the rebound.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Preece, Rutkiewicz, Anderson, McGuire, McAllister, Bisconti (Tiernan 39), Young, Young, Deloumeaux, Mackie, Mike (Michie 79).

Unused Subs: Esson, Thornley, Billio.

Bookings:  Deloumeaux (69),  McGuire (82),  Thornley (82).
Rangers Teamsheet
Klos, Ricksen, Numan, Malcolm, Ferguson, Mols (McCann 75), Latapy, De Boer, Konterman, Arveladze, Ross. Unused Subs: McGregor, Nerlinger, Dodds, Hughes

Bookings:  Ferguson 83,   Klos 90
Attendance: 14,915
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Stuart Dougal