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Aberdeen 0 - 0 Hertha Berlin

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Hertha Berlin

UEFA Cup First Round First Leg

17/09/2002 | KO: 17:00

All to play for in Berlin

Aberdeen produced a dazzling display in their 100th European tie, but didn't quite have the guile to open up the Berlin defence. The first half saw the Dons dominate with D'Jaffo going close five minutes before the break. Hertha were seen more as an attacking force in the second half and Kjaer was required to earn his corn. The best chance of the match fell to Derek Young in the second half. He was played through by his brother Darren, but failed to beat the keeper from six yards.

Aberdeen made a positive start to their 100th European tie getting the crowd right behind them from the kick off. A couple of half chances for Darren Mackie and a blocked shot for Darren Young offered a promising start for the home side. It was Darren Young who produced the first shot on goal in the 6th minute when space opened up but Kiraly easily collected his low drive. The Dons won their first corner in the 9th minute and once more the keeper made a comfortable catch from an Anderson header. A minute later Mackie tested the keeper as the Dons maintained the pressure.

The Dons had a great chance in the 13th minute following good build up play by D'Jaffo and Mackie, the ball was played into the Hertha penalty area. The ball broke off a Hertha defender and Derek Young was inches from collecting for a simple tap in. Up to this point Hertha had only shown glimpses of danger with a couple of neat flicks in and around the Dons penalty area and a Marcelinho free kick that went well over.

In the 19th minute the Dons won a free kick 20 yards out when D'Jaffo was fouled. Jamie McAllister stepped up and fired a fierce shot inches over the cross bar. The Dons continued to press and the Hertha back four were being forced to work hard, the Germans showed their threat on the break when Anderson was forced to make a saving tackle in the 25th minute as Luizao threatened.

Hertha had their first shot on target in the 31st minute. Following a weak clearance by Kjaer, the ball was swung into the box and Kjaer was forced to save from a Luizao header. Seconds later Aberdeen were back in attack as Derek Young attempted to lob the keeper. The Spanish official incurred the wrath of the home support in the 34th minute as a series of decisions went against the Dons resulting in a few minutes of sustained pressure by the visitors. This culminated in Kjaer having to scramble across his goal to save from Sverrisson.

Kiraly denied the Dons the lead in the 40th minute with a fine save. McNaughton broke on the right and delivered the perfect pass to Mackie. His cross was headed goalwards by D'Jaffo and the keeper did well to turn the ball away for a corner. Three minutes later Marcelinho had an audacious free kick attempt from 40 yards, which Kjaer held despite the ball taking a wicked deflection.

Aberdeen almost cancelled out the good work of the first half when Luizao was allowed to rise unchallenged to steer a Goor cross over the bar. In fact Hertha looked a lot more positive than they had in the opening 45 minutes. The Dons retained their composure however and started to reapply pressure being denied on several occasions by the final ball not quite running for them. Derek Young collected a yellow card in the 56th minute for a high challenge and a minute later McAllister delivered a teasing cross that the Germans struggled to clear.

Hertha were looking more dangerous, but the Dons defence were standing firm in a ding dong battle. The Dons should have taken the lead in the 68th minute when Darren Young fed a delightful ball through to his brother. Derek only had the keeper to beat but drilled it straight at Kiraly. Hertha had the ball in the net two minutes later, but to the relief of the red army the referee adjudged that Neuendorf had committed a foul before scoring.

Skovdahl decided it was time for a change and Scott Michie was introduced to replace Mackie. A minute later Darren Young tested the keeper again, but once more he was more than capable. Berlin were beginning to get the upper hand and they went close on two occasions from set play. Each time the headers were turned over the cross bar as the back four started to creak. Fabiano and Mike were introduced at the expense of McAllister and Derek Young.

The final ten minutes proved frustrating for the red army as the Spanish official baffled them with some strange decisions. The Dons had a final chance to grab the winner in the 88th minute when Anderson collected the ball wide from a cleared corner. He played a lovely nutmeg on his marker and rolled the ball into the path of McGuire. His shot was blocked and Bisconti hit the rebound into the Merkland Stand. In the final minute D'Jaffo played a through ball to Michie, but Kiraly was quick off his line to clear the danger and ensure a 0-0 scoreline.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Kjaer, Deloumeaux, Anderson, McGuire, McAllister (Fabiano 75), Young, McNaughton, Bisconti, Young (Mike 83), D'Jaffo, Mackie (Michie 70).

Unused Subs: Preece, Clark, Payne, Billio.

Bookings:  Young (56),  Anderson (80).
Hertha Berlin Teamsheet
Kiraly, Friedrich, Sverrisson, Goor, Luizao, Marcelinoh, Dardai, Neuendorf (Mladenov 89), Hartmann, Tretschok (Marx 64), Madlung Unused Subs: Fiedler, Karwan, Pinto, Rafael, Maas

Bookings:  Neuendorf 35,   Luizao 81
Attendance: 10,180
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: V. Tottes, Spain