Europa League - Qualifying First Round - 1st Leg
Shkendija1Aberdeen1

Europa League: Shkendija 1-1 Aberdeen

Hristijan Kirovski's looping header beats Aberdeen's Danny Ward
Hristijan Kirovski's looping header beat Danny Ward

Aberdeen survived a testing second half in Skopje as Hristijan Kirovski's equaliser for Shkendija cancelled out Niall McGinn's opener.

The Dons had been in control of the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round tie during the opening 45 minutes against the Macedonians.

Just as Shkendija appeared dangerous, McGinn's scuffed shot from Shay Logan's cross looked to have won the game.

But sub Kirovski's looping header levelled the game five minutes later.

Aberdeen had pitched goalkeeper Danny Ward, on loan from Liverpool, straight into European action, while fellow new signing Graeme Shinnie found a berth on the left side of midfield.

The Dons threatened early on when Jonny Hayes connected with a free kick inside the penalty box, but he could not get enough power into the shot and goalkeeper Marko Jovanovski held the effort.

Aberdeen were the dominant side, enjoying the majority of possession and not looking in any discomfort, while Ward dealt briskly with Victor Juffo's snap volley on the half hour.

Besir Demiri's effort was blocked for a corner by Ash Taylor as the Macedonian's threatened again.

Aberdeen's Niall McGinn celebrates after opening the scoring
Niall McGinn opened the scoring after 79 minutes for Aberdeen in Skopje

The home side started much more brightly in the second half and the introduction of substitute Besart Ibraimi, the Macedonia striker signed during the summer, lifted their threat level several notches.

Ibraimi's first involvement was poor as he slipped as he prepared to shoot after being set up by Stenio Junior, but he then cracked a powerful long-range free-kick that Ward tamed without fuss.

Aberdeen broke upfield and McGinn powered a fierce effort goalwards, but a flying leap and clutch from Jovanovski saved a certain goal.

Ibriaimi again threatened with a glancing header that narrowly missed the target.

Worryingly for Aberdeen, defender Mark Reynolds suffered an arm injury and had to leave the field to be replaced with summer signing Paul Quinn.

Logan made a saving tackle to clear the danger as the Dons defence was pierced with 15 minutes to go.

It was McGinn, though, who broke the deadlock, clipping home from 10 yards to score after a neat Logan cross from the right found him unmarked.

Aberdeen could not keep Shkendija at bay, however, and, with five minutes left of normal time, substitute Kirovski's powerful header left Ward helpless.

McGinn almost restored the Dons lead in the dying embers of the game, but Jovanovski blocked the shot with his chest to ensure the sides go into next Thursdays' second leg at Pittodrie level as they battle to face Rijeka of Croatia in the next round.

Line-ups

Shkendija

  • 12Jovanovski
  • 3AbdulaSubstituted forKirovskiat 84'minutes
  • 8Polozhani
  • 11DemiriBooked at 54mins
  • 6Cuculi
  • 5Alimi
  • 18da Fonseca Salazar Junior
  • 15Todorovski
  • 24HasaniBooked at 36mins
  • 10VrucinaBooked at 23minsSubstituted forIbraimiat 46'minutes
  • 20JuffoSubstituted forBejtulaiat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Azizi
  • 4Bejtulai
  • 7Imeri
  • 9Kirovski
  • 19Bojku
  • 25Ibraimi
  • 27Totre

Aberdeen

  • 19Ward
  • 5Taylor
  • 6ReynoldsSubstituted forQuinnat 69'minutes
  • 2Logan
  • 3Shinnie
  • 4Considine
  • 11Hayes
  • 8FloodSubstituted forPawlettat 65'minutes
  • 10McGinn
  • 9RooneySubstituted forGoodwillieat 65'minutes
  • 22Jack

Substitutes

  • 7McLean
  • 14Smith
  • 15Robson
  • 16Pawlett
  • 17Goodwillie
  • 18Quinn
  • 20Brown
Referee:
Tolga Özkalfa

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Mgladbach63301441012
2Villarreal6321157811
3FC Zürich62131014-47
4Apollon Limassol6105418-143

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Club Brugge6330102812
2Torino632193611
3HJK Helsinki6204511-66
4FC Copenhagen6114513-84

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Besiktas6330115612
2Tottenham632194511
3Asteras Tripolis6132710-36
4Partizan Belgrade602419-82

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RB Salzburg65102181316
2Celtic62221011-18
3Dinamo Zagreb62041215-36
4Astra Giurgiu6114615-94

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Moscow660093618
2PSV Eindhoven62228808
3Estoril Praia612378-15
4Panathinaikos6024611-52

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Inter Milan633062412
2Dnipropetrovsk621345-17
3FK Qarabag613235-26
4Saint-Étienne605123-15

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Feyenoord6402106412
2Sevilla632185311
3HNK Rijeka621378-17
4Standard Liege6114410-64

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Everton6321103711
2Wolfsburg63121410410
3FK Krasnodar6132712-56
4Lille604239-64

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli6411113813
2BSC Young Boys6402137612
3Sparta Prague6312116510
4Slovan Bratislava6006120-190

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dynamo Kiev6501124815
2Aalborg BK6303510-59
3Steaua Bucharest621311927
4Rio Ave6114510-54

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Fiorentina6411114713
2Guingamp631276110
3PAOK Salonika621310737
4Dinamo Minsk6114314-114

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Legia Warsaw650172515
2Trabzonspor631286210
3KSC Lokeren631244010
4Metalist Kharkiv6006310-70
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