Burnley 3 v 1 Aberdeen (Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg)
European football returned to Turf Moor for the first time in over fifty years, as the Clarets welcomed Aberdeen Football Club for the Europa League second qualifying round second leg. Sean Dyche changed the formation to a 4-4-2 system, bringing in Sam Vokes for Jeff Hendrick who dropped to the bench.
Burnley settled the quicker of the two side’s keeping possession of the ball in the opening five minutes, before Ashley Westwood sent a delightful ball over the Aberdeen defence for Chris Wood to run onto before beating Joe Lewis and slamming the ball passed two defenders on the line to give the Clarets the lead a 1-0 lead after only six minutes.
But McInnes’ side finally started to creep into the game. Gary Mackay-Steven and Niall McGinn found space down either side and when their impetus was rewarded just before the half-hour mark, it was simply stunning. Burnley’s attempt to clear a Mackay-Steven’s corner looked lazy and when the ball broke to Ferguson at the edge of a packed six-yard box, he executed a stunning overhead scissors-kick.
The goal gave Aberdeen confidence and after Italian referee Massimiliano Irrati waved away claims for a red card, when McKenna appeared to bring down a goal-bound Wood.
On thirty-eight minutes, Andrew Consindine went close for the visitors with a header that went just wide of the far post with Lindergaard beaten. Just six minutes later the Clarets goalkeeper saved a low Greame Shinnie shot that was destined for the net, to make the half-time score 1-1.
Burnley started the second half like they did the first with Lewis denying Gudmundsson. But the Premier League side were now pouring forward, roared on by the Turf Moor faithful who suddenly realised they might have a part to play in this Europa cup tie.
The incessant pressure was occasionally punctuated by the odd Aberdeen foray over the halfway line. Shinnie should have done better but blasted high over from a fine McGinn cut-back as the game continued to stretch.
At the other end, Lewis pulled off a save from Barnes that he may never better for the rest of his career. Barnes on for Wood at the break looked certain to score but Joe Lewis diverted the ball over the bar with an outstretched arm.
As the contest swung from end to end, Lindegaard denied Shinnie again at his near post and Lewis got his fingers to a looping Vokes header that looked goal-bound all the way. It was breathtaking entertainment that was to spill into extra time.
With both sets of players looking fatigued, the pace slowed, but midway through the first period of extra time the Clarets took the lead. Charlie Taylor’s inch-perfect cross from the left was met perfectly by the head of Jack Cork to make it 2-1 to the home side.
Ashley Barnes sealed the tie from the penalty spot after the referee had award the spot-kick for a handball in the area, at last the home fans could relax. A victory for Burnley in their first home European tie in 51 years, just about deserved but Aberdeen travel north with their heads held high.
The Clarets will now face RCD Espanyol on Sunday in their final pre-season match before an even tougher challenge next week against Istanbul Basaksehir Futbol Kulubu in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round.
Burnley – Lindergaard, Lowton, Ward, Mee, Tarkowski, Cork, Lennon, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Vokes, Wood (Subs) Legzdins, Barnes, Taylor, Hendrick, McNeil, Bardsley, Long.
Aberdeen – Lewis, Logan, McKenna, Devlin, Hoban, Shinnie, Considine, Ferguson, Mackay-Steven, Cosgrove, McGinn (Subs) Cerny, Forrester, Gleeson, Wright, May, Ball, Campbell.
Goals – (Burnley) Wood, Cork, Barnes (p) (Aberdeen) Ferguson
Attendance – 17,404