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2016/17 UEFA Europa League, Third Qualifying Round
  • Graeme Shinnie (90'+4' OG)
  • Jayden Stockley (61')
2nd Leg - NK Maribor advance 2-1 on aggregate
2nd Leg - NK Maribor advance 2-1 on aggregate

Aberdeen crash out of Europa League in loss to Maribor

A bizarre Graeme Shinnie own goal killed off 10-man Aberdeen's Europa League dream as they crashed to a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Maribor.

After a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie, Derek McInnes' team knew they had to score against the Slovenians if they had any hopes of making the play-off round.

But Adam Rooney blew the chance to give them a perfect start when he failed to convert the penalty he had won himself midway through the first half.

To make matters worse, the Reds were forced to play out the final half an hour a man light after substitute Jayden Stockley was sent off for two bookings.

The Dons desperately pushed for a winner but it was the hosts who claimed victory when Shinnie's attempted back pass bounced over the foot of keeper Joe Lewis and into his own net, sending Maribor into Friday's draw for the final set of qualifiers with a 1-0 win.

Jonny Hayes had fired the Dons' last-gasp leveller in the Granite City last week but missed the flight to Slovenia after picking up a hamstring injury on the eve of the trip.

But the winger's absence was barely noticed as Aberdeen made a confident start at the Stadion Ljudski.

A minute's silence was held in memory of two youngsters from the home outfit's youth team who tragically died in a car crash earlier this week but the Scots did well not to let the emotion swirling round the ground derail their focus in the opening stages.

They pressed high and passed with confidence and should have been rewarded for their calm determination after 23 minutes when Rooney was scythed down by Jasmin Handanovic as he tried to race towards goal.

It was a blatant spot-kick but the Dons pleaded for Bulgarian referee Nikola Popov to allow play to continue as Niall McGinn appeared on the scene to tap into the empty net.

However, the official had made his mind up early, pointing to the spot while only booking the culprit.

Although that decision appeared by the book under FIFA's recently revised rules on last-man fouls, it was little consolation to the visitors when Rooney's tame effort straight down the middle was easily blocked by Handanovic's feet.

Aberdeen tried to get themselves going again but Wes Brown's 25-yard strike was easily stopped by the home stopper. Shinnie was lucky not to see red himself after launching two-footed into opponent Blaz Vrhovec.

The half-time break did wonders for Maribor's energy levels as they put the pressure on, with Dons number one Lewis reacting well to Milivoja Novakovic's shot on the turn.

Time was running out for the Reds but they responded well with a number of decent attacks.

However, Popov's decision to dismiss Stockley for two harsh yellow cards was a huge blow.

Credit then to McInnes' team that they kept pushing on but the was no recovering when Shinnie's back-pass ended up in his own net after bobbling over Lewis' foot.