Aberdeen have been a shining light in the Scottish Premier League the past two years. In consecutive seasons they have finished second to Celtic and have been praised for their play. However, in the Europa League they have been a disaster, as shown by tonight’s 1-0 loss to NK Maribor.
After giving up an away goal in the home leg of their Europa League tie, the Scottish side just needed a goal to advance. However, that goal would not come against Slovenia’s Maribor. Adam Rooney had a golden chance in the first half when he intercepted a pass in the Maribor end, and was taken down by keeper. Rather than play the advantage – which was Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn collecting the ball and scoring – the referee pointed to the spot and showed the keeper a yellow, and not a red, card. It was one of a few controversial instances when a Maribor players escaped without a red on a physical play.
The Dons still had a golden opportunity in the first half to convert a penalty and grab the critical away goal. However, Rooney tried to slot the ball down the middle gently and it was saved without issue.
Aberdeen continued to push but substitute Jayden Stockley’s double yellows in the second half left the Dons a man down. As the clock ticked down, Aberdeen’s dismal night had a dismal end on a simple back pass to the keeper that, well, never made it.
The own goal sealed Aberdeen’s third consecutive Europa League defeat in the third round. For Maribor, they advance to the next round but their interest in the tournament is interesting to watch. Two years removed from playing in the Champions League group stage, they have not played in the Europa League in three years. The draw for the play-off round will take place on Friday.