Aberdeen 1 v 1 Burnley (Europa League Second Qualifying Round)
Burnley returned to European action for the first time in over fifty years with a trip to Scottish Premier League Aberdeen, the game was labelled the “Battle of Britain” with the Clarets filling Pittodrie to bursting point giving old place a terrific atmosphere for a first leg that fizzled from the start.
Aberdeen started this European cup tie on the front foot and had a number of efforts and runs that tested the visitors back-four, but in truth despite all of their runs and shots at goal they never really troubled the Clarets defence.
The first talking point of the game arrived on eleven minutes when a ball into the visitors six yard box caused chaos, in the end James Tarkowski headed the ball clear whilst taking a boot to the head off James Ferguson. Unfortunately in the incident the defender collided with Nick Pope who dislocated his shoulder and was replaced by Anders Lindergaard.
Just seven minutes later, German referee Daniel Siebert awarded Aberdeen a very soft penalty after England international James Tarkowski’s arm was adjudged to have made contact with Cosgrove’s face and Mackay-Steven duly sent Lindegaard the wrong way to it 1-0 to the home side.
Pittodrie was rocking for the next five to ten minutes as the home side started to hit the Clarets on the counter attack. Around the twenty-five minute mark, following a good move by the visitors a long clearance was taken down by Sam Cosgrove just inside his own half, he then ran at the Clarets defence only to see Matthew Lowton tripped him before he ran clear off the defence.
Then on the half hour mark, the Dons again hit the Clarets on the counter attack as captain Greame Shinnie collected the ball just inside the visitors half before running at defence and letting fly with an excellent shot that went just wide of Lindergaard right-hand post.
Despite the home side having the better attempts at goal in the first-half, Burnley did have most of the possession and created two excellent chances on the Aberdeen goal, the first feel to Chris Wood who from five yards out managed to put his shot across goal and out for a goal-kick.
The second chance fell to Aaron Lennon following an excellent run by Johann Burg Gudmundsson, who get in behind the Aberdeen defence before sending a cross low and hard across the six yard box. However Lennon was inch away from getting on the end of the cross and the Clarets went in at half-time 1-0 down.
Burnley started the stronger of the two side and as the game progressed that Clarets started to pin the home back, Aaron Lennon had the pace, but he only got on the ball fleetingly and his crosses and shots very rarely troubled Joe Lewis in Aberdeen’s goal.
As the game heated up towards the midway point in the half, so to did the card count and Shay Logan was very lucky not to see a straight red following a two footed tackle on Chris Wood, however referee Daniel Siebert only saw it as a yellow card offence.
The resulting free-kick was delivered straight into the heart of the Aberdeen area and was met by the head of Sam Vokes, but his effort went just over Joe Lewis crossbar and was defiantly a sighter for his goal just five minutes later.
Aberdeen, came close to adding a second had Mackay-Steven not delayed his pass on the counter-attack soon after that Burnley flurry, his pass was too late which meant Cosgrove had little time to get his shot away and Lindegaard dealt with it easily.
Just two minutes later, Mackay-Steven should have extended the home sides lead when he was left unmarked six yards out, but his header back across goal was tipped around the post by Anders Lindergaard in the Burnley goal.
With the visitors now pushing for the equaliser, Aaron Lennon made an excellent run down the wing before cutting into the Dons area and send the ball across the box. Jack Cork arrive on time but his effort was well saved by Joe Lewis and the home side got the ball to safety.
The Clarets drew level on eighty minutes, following a cross into the box which was won by Chris Wood who headed the ball across the area to Sam Vokes, he took a touch, spun and hit an unstoppable shot past Joe Lewis from close-range to make the score 1-1.
It was a class finish by Vokes, but untypically soft defending from the home team, a lack of concentration that was exploited expertly by the Welshman, who had come on as a second half substitute for the Premier league side.
Speaking after the match manager Sean Dyche said, “I think we deserved to edge it, but I’m not taking anything away from Aberdeen they certainly made it a proper game. You would have taken a draw and an away goal with how the game has panned out.”
The Clarets will entertain Montpellier on Sunday before the second leg against Aberdeen at Turf Moor next Thursday, with the winners playing Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in the Europa League third qualifying round.
Aberdeen – Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, McKenna, McGinn, Mackay-Steven, Cosgrove, Devlin, Ferguson, Ball, Hoban (Subs) Cerny, Forrester, Gleeson, Wright, May, Campbell, Anderson
Burnley – Pope, Lowton, Ward, Tarkowski, Mee, Lennon, Westwood, Hendrick, Cork, Wood, Gudmundson (Subs) Lindergaard, Wells, Taylor, Vokes, Walters, Bardsley, Long,
Goals – (Aberdeen) Mackay-Steven (19), (Burnley) Vokes (80)
Attendance – 20,313