Aberdeen knocked out of Europa League by Apollon Limassol

By Matt T
03 August 2017

Aberdeen crashed out of the Europa League with a 2-0 defeat against Apollon Limassol at the AEK Arena.

The Dons' 2-1 lead from the first leg of the third qualifier at Pittodrie was cancelled out and more in the 17th minute when Apollon attacker Andre Schembri fired in from 14 yards.

The goal changed the dynamic of the tie but while Derek McInnes' side stepped up their efforts, home substitute Emilio Zelaya added a second in the 86th minute to give the Cypriot side a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Aberdeen have exited the competition at this stage for the fourth successive season.

The Dons, inspired by Graeme Shinnie in midfield, started positively and set about trying to add to their first-leg advantage.

However, they relinquished control all too easily after their defence failed to deal with a Jander cross from the left, after he drove past Greg Stewart.

Anton Maglica picked up the ball and when he laid it back to Schembri he swept in to the net with Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven unable to keep it out on the line.

The Granite City men knew they had to score and minutes later Ryan Christie's whipped-in free-kick from 25 yards was pushed away by keeper Bruno Vale

Despite giving as good as they got, that was the sum of Aberdeen's goal threat in the first half, although the Cypriots posed few more problems for the Dons who had Jayden Stockley, Christie and Anthony O'Connor booked in quick succession just before the break, where Stockley was replaced by Nicky Maynard.

Aberdeen needed to score but their plight was not helped by a disjointed start to the second period when flares were lit in the home section - one was thrown and landed inside the goal behind Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

Television caught Swiss referee Stephan Klossner tell an official that he would abandon the match if behaviour did not cease but it calmed down.

As the home side drove forward Lewis saved an effort from Antonio Jakolis but Aberdeen rallied.

In the 69th minute Dons midfielder Kenny McLean raced on to a Maynard pass but failed to control the ball properly as he went round keeper Vale and the opportunity was lost.

Aberdeen pressed harder in the final stages but with four minutes remaining the home side broke with pace and after Lewis brilliantly tipped a close-range shot from Marios Stylianou on to the bar his fellow substitute Zelaya followed up to fire high into the net.

McLean headed into the arms of Vale from 10 yards deep into six added minutes before Christie just failed to get on to a cross from Andrew Considine, to compound the misery.

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