Scottish League Cup - Semi-Final
Dundee UtdDundee United2AberdeenAberdeen1
By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland at Hampden
  • Daniels' header on debut gives Dons lead
  • Morris nods leveller for United
  • Ciftci seals League Cup final place

Nadir Ciftci delivered the decisive finish that sent Dundee United into the Scottish League Cup final.

The striker scored with six minutes remaining, his header proving to be enough to subdue Aberdeen.

United, whose Stuart Armstrong had hit the Dons' crossbar, had to come from behind, with Donervon Daniels scoring the opener just after the interval.

Callum Morris equalised with a header, setting up a tense finish between two well-matched sides.

The weight of expectation seemed to be a burden at first.

A keenly contested game had been anticipated - between two sides who are strong, assured and capable of devilish intent in attack - but the opening half was mostly restrained.

The tempo lacked an edge and so the play tended to be ponderous. It was as if both teams felt that the occasion warranted caution.

David Goodwillie, so often a decisive player in the final third, often reacted with doubt when the final pass opened up and his display was undermined by poor decision making at key moments.

Stout defending became the theme of the first half. Daniels, on loan from West Brom, was a compelling figure on his debut. Tall and powerful, he looked susceptible to pace and was often the last line of defence for Aberdeen, but every intervention was heartfelt.

When the centre-back cleared straight to Armstrong, the midfielder took a touch to carry the ball into the area, but his shot was then blocked by Daniels hurling his body at the ball.

Similar resolve was required in the United area before the interval, with Ryan McGowan blocking Peter Pawlett's shot then Sean Dillon doing the same after Goodwillie gathered the rebound and drilled an effort towards goal.

Donervon Daniels celebrates his headed goal for Aberdeen
Donervon Daniels celebrates his headed goal for Aberdeen on his debut

The stoicism was admirable. Quality tended to be peripheral, although Armstrong did curl one shot on goal that Simon Brown had to leap up to tip on to the crossbar.

The game was at least as even as had been expected, but greater ambition eventually allowed the two teams to be separated.

It was Aberdeen who started the second half with more impetus and attacking intent. The reward was a period of pressure in the United half and Andrew Considine eventually had an opportunity to deliver a long throw into the area.

As he prepared to deliver the ball, Derek McInnes instructed Daniels to run into the area and so the defender was in place to flick the ball over Radoslaw Cierzniak and into the far corner of the net.

Aberdeen were enlivened and Daniels soon had another effort cleared off the line. Pawlett also drew a commanding save from Cierzniak after being released by Goodwillie. Even so, United were not forlorn competitors.

A set-piece provided their opportunity to strike back and Callum Morris rose powerfully to head Gary Mackay-Steven's corner into the net. The two goalscorers were involved together in the United area moments later, when Morris blocked Daniels' shot; the two defenders then shared a handshake.

The game turned into an end-to-end contest. Cierzniak tipped Ryan Jack's shot over; Mark Reynolds cleared Ryan Dow's effort off the line; Goodwillie's downward header from close range sent the ball bouncing over the bar.

There was a relentlessness to the play, but there was still room for a moment of clarity.

When Paul Paton delivered a cross into the area, Ciftci - who had been quiet throughout - glanced a header beyond Brown's despairing reach. It was enough to seal the victory and United's passage to the cup final.

Donervon Daniels scores
Donervon Daniels scores with a header that loops over United keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak
Callum Morris (right) is delighted to have levelled for Dundee United
Callum Morris powered in a header to pull United level after an hour of play at Hampden
Nadir Ciftci scores the winner for Dundee United
Nadir Ciftci scores the winner for Dundee United with six minutes remaining

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 16McGowan
  • 14Morris
  • 5Fojut
  • 2Dillon
  • 6Paton
  • 20Butcher
  • 21TelferSubstituted forDowat 58'minutes
  • 10Armstrong
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 7CiftciBooked at 66minsSubstituted forAnierat 90'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Townsend
  • 8Rankin
  • 17Erskine
  • 18Dow
  • 22Connolly
  • 26Szromnik
  • 30Anier

Aberdeen

  • 20Brown
  • 2Logan
  • 28Daniels
  • 6Reynolds
  • 3Considine
  • 22JackBooked at 82mins
  • 11Hayes
  • 10McGinn
  • 16PawlettBooked at 83minsSubstituted forSmithat 85'minutes
  • 9Rooney
  • 17Goodwillie

Substitutes

  • 1Langfield
  • 8Flood
  • 14Smith
  • 15Robson
  • 19Robertson
  • 23Masson
  • 39Wright
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
29,608

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home8
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away13
Fouls
Home7
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee United 2, Aberdeen 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, Aberdeen 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).

  4. Post update

    Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Henri Anier replaces Nadir Ciftci.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).

  7. Post update

    Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Donervorn Daniels.

  9. Post update

    David Goodwillie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Jaroslaw Fojut (Dundee United).

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Cameron Smith replaces Peter Pawlett.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Dundee United 2, Aberdeen 1. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Paul Paton.

  13. Booking

    Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).

  15. Post update

    Sean Dillon (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Booking

    Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).

  18. Post update

    Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Callum Morris.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Goodwillie (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

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