Match Report: Aberdeen 2-0 Hearts16 October 2022
Two late Aberdeen goals sunk Hearts at Pittodrie this afternoon, as Andy Halliday and Peter Haring joined the club’s growing injury list after a bruising encounter in the north-east.
Despite fashioning a number of good chances, Aberdeen proved to be more clinical in front of goal on the day as the Jambos fell to defeat.
Robbie Neilson opted for a number of changes from the side that was defeated 5-1 by Fiorentina in Italy. With Nate Atkinson sitting on the sidelines after an injury in Italy, the path was clear for Toby Sibbick to return to the starting eleven on the right. Meanwhile, Robert Snodgrass was able to make a welcome return to the midfield alongside Orestis Kio in a sitting two in front of the back four.
Tensions flared early doors at Pittodrie – Jayden Richardson going into referee Don Robertson’s book with just five minutes gone after he crudely brought down Alex Cochrane in front of the away end, sparking a furious shoving match between the Hearts and Aberdeen players.
Richardson was soon to be at the centre of controversy again, this time forcing Andy Halliday off the field after just ten minutes following a bone-shuddering challenge. Halliday continued for a brief period following the challenge but was quickly subbed. Teenage centre-back Lewis Neilson stepping up from the bench in his absence.
A lofted ball over the top nearly caught Hearts out. Both sides were enjoying spells with the ball, but the men in maroon had yet to properly cut Aberdeen open, when Bojan Miovski suddenly stole the ball and hit the box – dragging his effort at an angle across Gordon’s goal.
Alex Cochrane would then be at the heart of two good chances for the Jambos – first squandering a sitter after good work by Stevie Humphrys to tee him up before, just minutes later, threading the ball across to Lawrence Shankland in the middle who promptly smashed the side netting.
Humphrys was enjoying a lot of success as he drove at the Aberdeen defence, eventually shrugging off the attentions of Dons skipper Anthony Stewart before trying his luck from range. Kelle Roos beat away the initial chance, before Robert Snodgrass drilled home a rebound effort from the edge of the area that forced a second, sharper, save out of Roos.
With just minutes to go until the first half’s conclusion; a slack pass from Sibbick was cut out by ‘Duk’ Lopes. A sweeping move up the park followed, and with the Hearts defence chasing Lopes in vain – a massive stop from Craig Gordon was required to keep Aberdeen at bay.
Hearts responded in kind; a lofted ball over the top from Kingsley picked out Shankland – who forced Roos into action, tipping the ball over the bar as the final action of the second 45. The game had a goal in it, the only question lingering was who would draw first blood.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0-0 HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN
For all Aberdeen had their moments – even the neutral observer could conceivably argue that Hearts had fashioned the better chances. Just minutes from the restart for the second 45, the desire and hunger to hurt the Dons remained. Humphrys carved out the first big chance of the new 45, very nearly rounding Roos before a last-gasp hand turned the ball away from goal.
Bojan Miovski punched the Pittodrie turf with frustration after turning Ross McCrorie’s low cross narrowly wide of goal whilst, at the other end of the park, Lawrence Shankland cut a bemused figure after sending wide a well worked quick ball from Cochrane on the left.
Eventually, it proved to be Miovski’s attacking colleague, Duk Lopes, that made the breakthrough – finally punishing Hearts for their wastefulness in front of goal. Displaying a devastating turn of pace, he skipped into the box past a flurry of maroon bodies before slotting the ball beyond Gordon into the bottom right corner.
By that stage Aberdeen’s talismanic ten, Vincente Besuijen, had been introduced from the bench and quickly made his stamp on proceedings. Lifting the ball past Gordon once again to extend Aberdeen’s lead to two with just ten minutes left to play.
After a period of waiting which concluded with substitute Peter Haring leaving the pitch through injury after a tackle with Marley Watkins, seven minutes of added time were given to see whether Hearts could pull something off.
There was to be no further action, and Hearts were beaten. Up next; the visit of Celtic to Tynecastle next Saturday.
Aberdeen: Roos, McCrorie, MacKenzie (Kennedy 87’), Scales, Stewart, Barron, Miovski, Duk Lopes (Watkins 80’), Ramadani, Clarkson (Besuijen 70’), Richardson
Subs: Lewis, Morris, Besuijen, Watkins, Duncan, Milne, Kennedy, Bavidge, Ramirez
Hearts: Gordon, Sibbick, Kingsley, Cochrane, Halliday (Neilson 10’), Kiomourtzoglou, Snodgrass (Haring 81’*) (Grant 89’), Forrest (Smith 81’), McKay, Humphrys, Shankland
Subs: Stewart, Clark, Haring, Grant, Neilson, Henderson, Smith, Pollock
Referee: Don Robertson
*Subbed off with injury on the 89th minute after being subbed on in the 81st.