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Aberdeen 1 - 2 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 2 Rangers

Aberdeen scorers: Mackie 19.
Rangers scorers: Prso 9, McNaughton og 15

23/01/2005 | KO: 14:00

Own goal sinks Dons at Pittodrie

After an entertaining opening forty five minutes that produced three goals and plenty of controversy the second have was ultimately disappointing as neither side looked like adding to the score line. After a good start from the Dons they found themselves a goal down after 9 minutes when Prso produced a good finish to beat Esson. There was controversy in the 15th minute when Rangers grabbed a second from a corner that should never have been and the unfortunate McNaughton turned the ball into his own net. Aberdeen fought back well and a well worked move saw Mackie pull one back. At the end of the day another three points have gone but at least the run of blank score sheets was ended with Mackie's strike.

I a case of déjà vu from a week ago Aberdeen kicked off towards the RDU and immediately put the ball out of play. They quickly retained possession and won a free kick on the left. Winter swung a dangerous ball in but the play was halted for an offside decision. Aberdeen looked more positive in their start and at the back Diamond made a crunching tackle on Novo in the third minute as Rangers threatened. In the 5th minute Anderson failed to let the ball run out of play allowing Prso a sniff of goal but fortunately his defence covered well. Seconds later Klos had to rush from his goal to halt Winter as the game continued at a frenzied pace.

Two minutes later Klos had to repeat his run from goal as Mackie threatened then the Aberdeen striker collected again and set up Foster but the youngster delayed and the chance was gone. The Dons were to regret this a minute later when Prso collected a Buffel pass on the right and drilled the ball past Esson to give the visitors the lead. The early goal appeared to take the wind out of Aberdeen's sails and settle the visitors. Rangers grabbed a controversial second goal after the 15th minute. Novo had broken on the right and fired the ball cleanly through Esson's legs and beyond the far post and the linesman awarded a corner kick. Ricksen fired the cross in and as Esson failed to grab the ball it appeared to hit McNaughton and ended up in the net.

Aberdeen must have felt a sense of injustice and hit back hard. In the space of two minutes Heikkinen headed a Clark cross over the bar and Klos made a great save from Darren Mackie before Aberdeen pulled one back in the 19th minute. A great back heel by Whelan set the goal up as McNaughton collected and cut the ball into the path of Mackie who calmly netted. The stand side linesman continued to upset the red army with a string of controversial decisions that eventually earned Russell Anderson a lecture as he forcefully stated his viewpoint. Diamond went close for Aberdeen in the 27th minute when he out jumped the Rangers defence and headed a free kick over and five minutes later Prso headed inches wide of the target at the other end.

Kevin McNaughton collected the first yellow card of the match when he deliberately took Prso out of the game with a trip in the 36th minute. Esson saved the free kick and released Mackie and Clark before a bad touch at the last minute brought the move to a halt. A bad mistake from Noel Whelan almost gifted Rangers a third in the final minute when he was soft with a pass back and Novo nipped in to steer the ball past Esson and on to the far post. Aberdeen almost equalised a minute later when Whelan connected with a Mackie cross only to see Klos bundle the ball round the post. The referee awarded a goal kick and then eventually changed his mind. In the ensuing debate Whelan collected the second yellow card of the match.

Aberdeen had a half chance in the 49th minute when Whelan screwed the ball wide then a minute later the same player set up Mackie but a timely interception by Buffel denied the striker. The match exploded in the 51st minute resulting in bookings for Hart and Vignal and two minutes later Whelan had a chance from a free kick but headed well over. In the 56th minute Jamie Winter went close from 25 yards after being set up by Mackie and Heikkinen and a minute later Anderson was inches from connecting with a free kick that would have steered the ball beyond Klos. Clark collected the Dons fourth yellow card in the 59th minute for a foul on Ricksen.

There were a few personal battles taking place all over the pitch and none more so than Vignal and Whelan. With both players already booked they were playing a dangerous game. Calderwood was concerned enough to replace the Englishman in the 68th minute with Kristjansson. The Icelander won a free kick immediately but Winter's delivery failed to get past the first man and five minutes later Muirhead replaced Winter. The second half had failed to live up to the promise of the opening forty five minutes and neither side looked like adding to the score line. In the 78th minute Heikkinen set up Thomson with a loose pass but fortunately the striker was unable to capitalise and a minute later an Aberdeen free kick was delivered too close to Klos.

With ten minutes remaining Stewart replaced Foster in an attempt to grab a late equaliser. Chris Clark went close to grabbing that goal in the 85th minute when he brought down a great pass from Hart and hit a half volley inches wide of the target. In the 89th minute Rangers almost grabbed a controversial third as Rae steered the ball into the path of Thompson with his arm. He released Namouchi and somehow the Ranger fired wide with the goal at his mercy. Namouchi was cautioned in the 90th minute for a nasty assault on Hart and the resulting free kick produced the Dons first corner of the match as Andrews scrambled the ball clear. Despite four minutes of stoppage time Aberdeen could not find a way through.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Hart, McNaughton, Heikkinen, Anderson, Diamond, Foster (Stewart 80), Winter (Muirhead 73), Mackie, Whelan (Kristjansson 68), Clark.

Unused Subs: Adams, Pasquinelli, Morrison, Ilic.

Bookings:  McNaughton (36),  Whelan (45),  Hart (51),  Clark (59).
Rangers Teamsheet
Klos, Ricksen, Buffel (Hughs 71), Andrews, Rae, Prso (Namouchi  82), Novo, Malcolm, Ross, Vignal, Djordic (Thompson  55)

Bookings:  Vignal 51,   Namouchi 90
Attendance: 17,495
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Dougie McDonald, Edinburgh
Today's Match Programme.
Anderson can do little to prevent Prso from opening the scoring.
Diamond stoops to clear the danger this afternoon.
A defensive blunder allows Rangers to grab a 2-0 lead.
Marvin Andrews keeps a close eye on Darren Mackie.
Mackie turns to celebrate after scoring the Dons goal.
His team mates are quick to catch up with him.
Fernando Ricksen blocks Noel Whelan's effort.
Michael Hart keeps a close eye on the ball.
Jamie Winter rises above Ricksen to win the ball.
Calderwood and McLeish look on from the sidelines.
Diamond beats Prso to the ball to clear the danger.
Vignal and Whelan fail to see eye to eye.
Vignal now turns his attentions to Michael Hart as tempers flare.
Everyone joins in as exchanges get heated.
Kristjansson gets involved after coming on as a late substitute.