Can Aberdeen make it to the Europa League group stage. We will find out on Thursday evening.
Even After Sweden
At 2-0 down, Aberdeen looked down and all but out. At 2-2, their Europa League tie with Hacken is firmly balanced.
Group Stage Football
After finishing third in last season’s Scottish Premiership, Aberdeen’s reward was guaranteed European group stage football. A guarantee perhaps but the destination would not be confirmed until the end of August.
Third place behind the Glasgow giants offers Aberdeen first crack at entry into the Europa League proper. Failure to accept the invitation on the field of play and it is the Conference League for the Dons instead.
A scenario that will conclude on Thursday night, as Aberdeen and Hacken square off for the second time in two weeks. A tie that had a pendulum swinging towards the Swedish outfit. A pendulum that would eventually swing back towards Barry Robson’s men.
The Pittodrie outfit were at one stage two goals down to their Swedish hosts and with 15 minutes left of their first leg remaining, it looked as if the Scottish representative were doing little to help the countries’ UEFA co-efficient.
Then again, it is amazing what can be done in less than 15 minutes. Goals from both Bojan Miovski and Nicky Devlin restored what looked like unlikely parity and now these two and their teammates will look to build on such a comeback in front of their own support.
Of course, this Aberdeen side is no stranger to late drama in the past week and they left it even later to earn a point at St Mirren on Sunday. Once again it was a 2-2 draw, once again Bojan Miovski found the net.
Only this time the Macedonian forward needed 10 additional minutes to finally level the scores at The SMiSA Stadium. A penalty in the 100th minute created no end of drama– drama that is hopefully avoided against Hacken.
As for Hacken themselves, they come into this encounter having made an unsuccessful trip to the Swedish capital on Sunday. Their latest Allsvenskan encounter saw them suffer a 4-2 defeat away at Goteborg.
However, they have certainly not been shy in front of goal and in their last 270 minutes of European football, Per-Mathias Høgmo’s men have scored no less than 10 goals – eight of those were past Zalgiris in the previous round of qualification.
But now it is time for the first of my two tips. First up, I am looking to Aberdeen and home advantage. After coming back from the dead last Thursday, I think they will just edge through to the Europa League proper. A win at Pittodrie and both teams on the scoresheet is currently at 15/4.
At the same time, I am also going to opt for a correct score tip. An Aberdeen win and both teams to score suggests 2-1 could be the most logical outcome of all and especially when it is priced at a tempting 10/1.