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Aberdeen knocked out of Europa League

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Maribor score

Aberdeen were left to rue a missed penalty, refereeing decisions and an own goal as they were knocked out of the Europa League by NK Maribor.

Adam Rooney’s spot-kick was saved, but if the advantage had been played Niall McGinn’s netted shot after the foul on Rooney would have opened the scoring.

Dons substitute Jayden Stockley was booked twice for use of his elbows.

And, in added time, Graeme Shinnie’s pass-back to Joe Lewis bobbled over the keeper’s foot and ran into the net.

The tie was played against a backdrop of mourning, after two players from Maribor’s B team – Damjan Marjanovic and Zoran Baljak – died in a car crash earlier in the week.

A minute’s silence before kick-off and black armbands were symbols of the sense of grief that had gripped the Slovenian club, and there was empathy from Aberdeen’s players and staff, with manager Derek McInnes and captain Ryan Jack laying a wreath earlier in the day.

Aberdeen’s task was straightforward – to score after conceding an away goal in the 1-1 draw at Pittodrie last week.

Jasmin Handanovic saves Adam Rooney's penalty

They travelled to Slovenia with a sense of purpose and confidence, though, having created a series of chances in the home leg and played with command and authority.

The loss of first-leg scorer Jonny Hayes to injury was a setback but his replacement Wes Burns brought drive and directness to the team, qualities which contributed to the conservatism that shaped Maribor’s play.

The home side could afford to play for a 0-0 draw, but they ought to have found themselves chasing the game by half-time.

A reckless pass-back by Marko Suler was intercepted by Rooney and his ankles were caught by Handanovic’s studs.

The referee opted for a yellow rather than a red card for the goalkeeper, but also ruled out McGinn’s finish to award the spot-kick instead.

Rooney, normally so fierce with his finishing from the spot, tried to dink the ball down the centre of goal, allowing Handanovic to kick the ball away.

There were other efforts – Burns and Shinnie both shot straight at Handanovic – but Aberdeen were most frustrated by the officials.

Even before Burns’ second-half replacement Stockley had received his two bookings, Erik Janza was only shown a yellow card despite appearing to have thrown a punch at Ryan Jack.

Jayden Stockley is sent off

The home side had started the second half with more assertive play, and threatened when their scorer in the first leg, Milivoje Novakovic, spun and shot on target only for Lewis to push the ball away.

Aberdeen would still have felt they were the dominant side, but Stockley’s dismissal limited their options and it became an agonising assignment for the visitors as time ran out on their European ambitions, Shinnie credited with the own goal that came seconds before the final whistle.

Derek McInnes’ men – Scottish Premiership runners-up two years running – bow out of the Europa League at the third qualifying round for the third successive season, with their domestic campaign beginning at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park on Sunday.


NK Maribor

  • 33HandanovicBooked at 24mins
  • 4Suler
  • 9Morales Tavares
  • 3JanzaBooked at 55mins
  • 6Pihler