2015/16 UEFA Europa League, Second Qualifying Round
  • Andrew Considine (38')
  • Peter Pawlett (52')
  • Kenny McLean (75')
1st Leg
1st Leg

Rijeka 0-3 Aberdeen

Aberdeen gave themselves a massive Europa League qualifying boost with a stunning 3-0 second round first-leg win over Rijeka at the Stadion Kantrida.
Defender Andrew Considine headed the visitors in front against the run of play in the 38th minute from a Niall McGinn corner.
There was more joy soon after the break when midfielder Peter Pawlett, denied a goal for offside just before the break, headed in a Shay Logan cross.
Substitute Kenny McLean increased the lead further in the 75th minute with a close-range volley to give Derek McInnes's side what should be an unassailable lead ahead of the return game at Pittodrie, an advantage which early in the match had looked unlikely.
The Croatian outfit, aiming to reach the group stage of the tournament for the third year running, dominated possession from the first whistle.
Attacker Marin Tomasov should have scored twice in the opening minutes instead of volleying wide from 10 yards with time and space and hitting the post from close range with only Aberdeen keeper Danny Ward to beat.
Ward then made decent saves from midfielder Josip Radosevic, striker Bekim Balaj and Brazilian attacker Moises, the latter's effort a glancing header from a Tomasov corner.
Amid all the pressure they had to withstand, the Granite City men showed only flicker of danger.
Defender Ash Taylor's long throw causing panic in the Rijeka defence before keeper Ivan Vargic grabbed it gratefully at the second attempt but it was an indication of weakness and nerves which soon cost the home side dearly.
When McGinn floated a corner over to the back post from the left the Rijeka number one came out unconvincingly and flapped with Considine rising high to bullet the ball into the net to the acclaim of the travelling Dons support.
Pawlett then had the ball in the net before the interval with a stooping header from a Jonny Hayes cross but was ruled offside.
However, he was not to be denied when another marvellous header, this time from Logan's cross, beat Vargic to stun the home side.
Rijeka were further sapped of the zip which had characterised their start to the game and it looked like there were more goals on offer for the visitors as the Croatian side left gaps piling forward.
Midfielders Willo Flood and McLean came on for Pawlett and McGinn respectively and when the former St Mirren player was set up by David Goodwillie he hammered it past the hapless Vargic to surely seal the Dons' place in the next qualifying round.
There was time left for Ward to make saves from Rijeka substitute Roman Bezjak and Anas Sharbini as the Dons worked hard to keep the all-important clean sheet which puts them firmly in the qualification box seat.