Aberdeen progress with impressive away win

20 July 2017

Greg Stewart and Gary Mackay-Steven both netted their first Aberdeen goals as the Dons sealed Europa League progress with a 2-0 victory over Siroki Brijeg in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ryan Christie created both goals in the final 18 minutes to secure a 3-1 aggregate win and set up a third qualifying-round encounter with Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.

Aberdeen and the game itself only came alive in the final half hour and Derek McInnes' side found the quality needed to avoid a hat-trick of instant exits for Scottish clubs in the competition following defeats for Rangers and St Johnstone in the opening round.

Joe Lewis was marginally the busier goalkeeper in the first half, seeing Ivan Kristanovic's shot zip not far wide after an early corner and soon making what proved the only save of the half, comfortably catching a 25-yard strike.

The hosts committed 13 first-half fouls, skipper Josip Barisic the culprit on several occasions after his 25th-minute booking, as they frustrated Aberdeen.

Kenny McLean was well off target with a couple of long-range efforts and the whistle went for an obvious push when Andrew Considine hit the post with a header. And there were no takers for Christie's driven cross when the Dons finally got in behind their opponents just before the break.

Danish referee Michael Tykgaard handed out two bookings to the hosts in the opening two minutes of the second half, the first foul leading to the home goalkeeper's first save, although the ball bounced off a defender following Christie's free-kick.

Lewis dived to save a strike from Kristanovic before the Dons burst into life just before the hour mark.

Christie's 22-yard strike was spilled before Stewart sliced the rebound wide, although he appeared to be fouled by Stipo Markovic in the process. Christie then sent a free header wide from 12 yards following Mackay-Steven's cross.

There was another chance two minutes later as Considine's header looped just wide of the top corner following Christie's free-kick.

Nicky Maynard replaced the ineffectual Jayden Stockley before Lewis pulled off a tremendous reaction stop to push Kristanovic's acrobatic effort over after the visiting defence had become stretched.

The game swung in Aberdeen's favour moments later as Stewart was afforded some space in the channel to run on to Christie's disguised pass and slot home with his weaker, right foot.

Christie was the provider again six minutes later with a brilliant angled pass to set up Mackay-Steven, who finished high into the far corner.

That left the hosts needing three goals and they did not look like getting even one.

Source: PA