Aberdeen welcome Qarabag to Pittodrie as the Dons seek to overturn an one goal deficit from the first leg in their 2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League Play-Off.
Aberdeen know that they simply must win without conceding to stand any chance of advancing whereas Qarabag know that a win or draw would see them through, although defeat if they score could be enough by virtue of goal difference on overall aggregate.
Andy Considine is ruled out for Aberdeen after suffering a knee injury in the first leg on what many have branded a ‘disgraceful’ pitch.
Ryan Hedges (hamstring) is still absent for the Dons.
Qarabag have no fresh injury concerns to report with a full squad available for selection.
- Aberdeen lost their only previous meeting against Qarabag, losing the first leg 1-0 in Azerbaijan last week.
- Qarabag are visiting Aberdeen for the very first time in all competitions.
- Stephen Glass’ Dons have kept two clean sheets in their last five home matches (W4, L1).
- Qarabag lost their only previous away trip against Scottish opposition (L1), losing 1-0 at Celtic in Third Qualifying Round of 2015-16 UEFA Champions League.
- Lewis Ferguson, Christian Ramirez and Ryan Hedges have all netted braces in individual games across three of Aberdeen’s five matches in Europe this season.
Having been outplayed on an atrocious pitch last week that isn’t even fit for Non League level, Aberdeen face an uphill task against experienced European opposition but they can take heart from their strong home record so far this season but the first goal will be crucial.
Qarabag meanwhile know that if they score first then the pressure is off them so I expect them to come here looking to try and force an early second goal to kill off the tie, although they might well be in for a surprise if Aberdeen turn up with a ruthless home performance.
Tactics and that first goal at Pittodrie therefore feel like they will be decisive as to how this match and the tie overall both play out, although I am going for a draw because Qarabag do have enough European experience in them to avoid defeat here and will make life tough for Aberdeen to break down.
Prediction: Aberdeen 1-1 Qarabag
Result: Aberdeen 1-3 Qarabag (Qarabag win 4-1 on aggregate!!)