Aberdeen 1-1 Burnley: Honours even after enthralling Europa League tie

Aberdeen 1-1 Burnley: Honours even after enthralling Europa League tie

The sides meet in the second leg at Turf Moor next Thursday.

Chris Lincoln
AberdeenLewis, Logan, Devlin, McKenna, Hoban, McGinn (Wright 78), Ball, Ferguson (Gleeson 55), Shinnie, Mackay-Steven, Cosgrove (May 76)
BurnleyPope (Lindegaard 14), Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Berg Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, Lennon, Hendrick (Vokes 66), Wood
SCORE1-0 Mackay-Steven 18, 1-1 Vokes 81

After an exciting contest of Burnley pressurising and Aberdeen counter-attacking, the English club left Scotland feeling the more positive of the two sides vying to reach the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

History created

Any simmering disappointment of Burnley drawing a comparatively local side in their first European match for 51 years soon faded into the Pittodrie woodwork as 2,000 Clarets crossed the border brimming with excitement, enthusiasm and passion as a reward for a stellar campaign last season.

Manager Sean Dyche kept faith in many of the players that formulated a key role during an incredible year at Turf Moor. World Cup selectee Nick Pope continued in goal as Tom Heaton remained at home with a calf injury, whilst Johann Berg Gudmundsson was deemed fit to play after a short recovery from his debut on the global stage, offering width alongside Aaron Lennon who had scored two goals in as many friendlies.

Meanwhile, the hosts prepared for another onslaught on Europa League qualification, aiming to reach the tournament proper for the first time in a decade. They went into their first ever match against Burnley without last season's top goalscorer, Adam Rooney, who moved to non-league Salford City in a controversial transfer earlier in the month.

Pope injured and Aberdeen convert penalty in horror opening 20 minutes for the Clarets

The visitors started the game positively but the first chance fell to Aberdeen on eight minutes. A familiar Burnley back four looked exposed as Niall McGinn skipped past Matthew Lowton before firing a ball across goal, somehow evading several home players who could not get what would have been a goalscoring touch on the cross. Soon after, Lennon proved threatening at the other end of the pitch as another flashed cross caused danger before being palmed away by Joe Lewis.

The Clarets had built much of their success last season on a stringent and organised defensive unit but they took a blow early in the contest. Goalkeeper Pope had been a revelation last season but Sean Dyche will be praying his injury is not too serious after being forced off when clashing with an opponent as he captured a looping ball.

It took just four minutes for substitute Anders Lindegaard to be called into action as he found himself picking the ball out of the net. Another heroine from last season, James Tarkowski, was adjudged to have held back Sam Cosgrove in the penalty area and Gary Mackay-Steven duly sent Lindegaard the wrong way as he slotted the Scottish side into the lead.

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Frustration for the visitors

Worthy of their lead, Aberdeen set about trying to maintain the momentum they had formulated and Graeme Shinnie drove forward but could not get the purchase on his strike to truly test Lindegaard. Meanwhile, Burnley struggled to find any quality in the final third as the hosts defended with organisation and nous - a leaf out of their opponents' book.

Chris Wood had been somewhat of a spectator for the visitors and his frustration was evident when he lashed wildly over from distance on 35 minutes. However, a series of corners manufactured a spell of pressure with Lennon looking sharp and poignant to any potential threat Burnley offered going forward.

The visitors were certainly getting a foothold in the game and Jeff Hendrick was becoming more influential. After playing Lennon into a dangerous position, he also slotted through Stephen Ward but both crosses were hacked clear by the home defence. Gudmundsson then curled wide just before the half-time whistle which arguably blew at the wrong time for the Premier League side.

Burnley probe but Cosgrove threatens a second

Yet Burnley picked up where they left off and were somehow prevented an equaliser within five minutes of the restart. Jack Cork's header from close range was kept out by a smart reaction save from Lewis before Lennon's cross from the rebound skipped past a series of players in the penalty area.

However, the home side still offered a threat as Cosgrove was unable to convert two separate chances sandwiched around that golden opportunity for the visitors, firstly failing to connect with a Shay Logan cross and then firing straight at Lindegaard after smart work from McGinn.

Whilst Burnley had looked more likely to score after the break, Aberdeen continued to appear capable of doubling their lead at any moment on the counter-attack and it was Cosgrove who found space again before Lindegaard thwarted him at the near post. The striker was then integral to another promising moment for the hosts, heading down a McGinn cross into the path of Mackay-Steven who forced Lindegaard into his best stop of the match thus far.

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Vokes comes on to change the game

The next goal appeared critical to the entire tie and Sam Vokes replaced Hendrick in an attacking move for the last quarter of the first leg. Within minutes, Gudmundsson hooked over from range before Vokes used his physical presence, a threat in Burnley's opening friendlies of pre-season, to power a header from a Ward cross that could only find the side-netting.

Something looked as if it was going to give but would it be Burnley's pressure pushing their hosts back or the counter-attacking threat of Aberdeen? McGinn fired an effort wide after more excellent physical work from Cosgrove but the Scottish side were soon left ruing their missed chances...

Wood was able to flick on a long hopeful ball that Vokes tried to get under his spell. An outstretched Aberdeen leg managed to knock the ball up in the air only for it to drop to Vokes who fired Burnley level with less than nine minutes remaining. An inspired substitution from Dyche.

There was still time for Ashley Westwood to go close to giving Burnley a goal advantage to take back to Lancashire but both sides appeared content not to give anything away in the final stages of a pulsating tie that finished locked at 1-1. All to play for at Turf Moor next week...


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