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Aberdeen 5 - 1 Waterschei

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 0 Waterschei

European Cup Winners Cup Semi Final First Leg
Aberdeen scorers: Black 2, Simpson 4, McGhee 67, Weir 69, McGhee 84.
Waterschei scorers: Gudmundsson 74

06/04/1983 | KO: 19:30

Dons destroy Belgians and eye Gothenburg

Aberdeen got off to a dream start as they opened the scoring with barely a minute and a half on the clock. Rougvie dispossessed Voordeckers on the right touchline and sent Bell on a solo run. After resisting a couple of challenges, Bell squared for Black to slip the ball past the keeper. Three minutes later Pittodrie erupted as the Dons scored again. Midfield dynamo Neil Simpson tackled a dithering Bialousz on the edge of the penalty area and resisted a challenge before finding the net with a fierce drive. The Dons whirlwind start had shattered the Belgian plan and the crowd was right behind the Dons as they sensed a famous victory.

The first real danger from the visitors came in the 14th minute when Martos broke away and Voordeckers headed his cross wide of the target. Aberdeen responded with Black coming close when his shot on the turn was deflected over the bar. Minutes later it should have been 3-0 to the Dons when McLeish headed against the post following a Strachan free kick. Waterschei continued to look dangerous on the break and Leighton had to look alert to save from Pierre Janssen. The Dons had to defend stoutly as the Belgians forced three corners in quick succession, before a Strachan cross after 42 minutes sparked a melee in the Waterschei goal.

The second half opened with the Dons going for the jugular again spurred on by Fergie's half time talk. The Waterschei goal had two close escapes in the opening spell as Eric Black went close. First a brilliant flying save from Pudelko prevented him scoring with a header. Black's superb heading ability had been causing the Belgians all sorts of problems, and it was the spring heeled Black who came close again in 52 minutes. This time it was Van Kraay who cleared off the line with his keeper beaten. A typical Bell burst from a deep position set up Mark McGhee but his shot from the edge of the box was saved.

Aberdeen by this stage were dominant and the crucial third goal arrived in the 67th minute. An alert Mark McGhee turned, his defender once again and found his way through and his angled cross went beyond Pudelko. Two minutes later the Belgians were once again on the ropes as the Dons made it four. McGhee turned provider on this occasion. The Dons' striker weaved his way down the right and his perfect cross was headed home as Peter Weir scored with a superb dive. It was no more than the Dons deserved in a game they had really kept up almost relentless pressure on their visitors in every area of the park.

Waterschei pulled a goal back in the 70th minute Voordeckers crossed for Gudmundsson to head past Leighton at the near post. Aberdeen responded by making a double substitution in 78 minutes. Cooper and Hewitt replacing Doug Bell and Eric Black whose contributions had been immense. The Waterschei goal had a remarkable escape three minutes later when a Kennedy cross ran along the goal line with Cooper only inches away from making contact. The pressure was still on and with six minutes left the Aberdeen goal machine was at it again. Mark McGhee was persistent if not clinical when he had no less than three attempts to finally squeeze the ball past a desperate Pudelko.

A remarkable performance from the Dons and their 5-1 win surely left the return in Genk a formality. Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson was delighted - "We had a magnificent start that changed things for them. You can't lose a couple of goals and stick to your game plan, the Belgians had to come out after that and that suited us. I could not have asked more from my players, Doug Bell was superb, he was tiring after a while and we had to consolidate after they scored. We will adopt the same tactics as we did in the Munich tie for the return, and they will have to go some to beat us."

Waterschei coach Kunnecke was understandably shocked - "It is finished. I don't think there is any team in the world that could take four goals off of Aberdeen. They simply swept us aside." Among the spectators was Real Madrid coach Luis Molowny who kept company with most of the big names in Scottish football. He said, "I was very impressed by Aberdeen. Their ability, power and strength were awesome. We did not know too much about Aberdeen before the tie, if it turns out to be a Real Madrid v Aberdeen final I expect it to be a very tough game."

Amongst the crowd at Pittodrie were Jock Stein, former England boss Sir Alf Ramsey and a host of admiring Scottish football managers. Archie Knox, who had seen Waterschei before the tie explained - "I thought that if we could get at them early we could really do some damage and so it proved 5-1 is an exceptional result in a European semi-final."

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Leighton, Kennedy, Rougvie, Bell (Cooper 78), McLeish, Miller, Strachan, Simpson, McGhee, Black (Hewitt 78), Weir.

Unused Subs: Gunn, McMaster, Watson.
Waterschei Teamsheet
Pudelko, Martos, Bialousz, David, Van Kraay (Conninx 75), Coenen (Plessers 70), P Janssen, Clijsters, Voordeckers, Gudmundsson, R Janssen. Unused Subs: Cooper for Bell (78), Hewitt for Black (78).
Attendance: 24,500
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Paolo Bergamo, Italy
The captain's greet each other prior to the match.
Eric Black opens the scoring in the second minute.
Neil Simpson makes it 2-0 two minutes later.
Alex McLeish crashes a header off the woodwork.
Eric Black goes close again but is denied by the keeper.
Mark McGhee added a third goal on the night.
Peter Weir makes it four with a flying header.
McGhee finally forces the ball over the line to complete the scoring.
Next Match
20 Apr 2024 / 15:00 / Hampden Park, Glasgow