UNITED THROUGH TO LEAGUE CUP FINAL

Published: 31st January 2015

United booked their place in the League Cup final after an absorbing 90 minutes ended in a brilliant second half comeback. By Ally Stewart Aberdeen took the lead through Donervorn Daniels just after the break before an equaliser from Callum Morris and then a Nadir Ciftci winner 7 minutes from time sent the 9000 Arab army home delighted. [AFG_gallery id='3'] There was an early opening for United as Mackay-Steven received a quick free kick and for a split second was beyond Dons keeper Scott Brown but, off balance, the playmaker sliced high and wide. It was end to end stuff as Mackay-Steven was released clean through by Nadir Ciftci only to be flagged a fraction offside. With just over 16 minutes played the Terrors came within a whisker of taking the lead. Stuart Armstrong played a one two with Charlie Telfer before curling a left foot shot which deflected off the boot of Daniels and onto the top of the bar with Brown looking beaten. After 24 minutes Armstrong again saw his shot blocked by Daniels at close range before Ciftci watched as his long range follow up was held by Brown. At the other end only some brilliant defending from Fojut thwarted Goodwillie after he received a well worked free kick by Pawlett and McGinn in the heart of the box. In the 38th minute the defence again had to act heroically as first Morris blocked Goodwillie then Dillon lunged in to clear as the Dons looked on the verge of an opening. It had certainly lived up to the billing and both teams would have been pleased with their play as the half time whistle arrived with the game goalless. It was just 3 minutes after the break when the deadlock was broken and it was Aberdeen who did so. A long throw from Andrew Considine was met with a back header from Donervorn Daniels who looped the ball up over Cierzniak and into the far side of the net. The Tangerines tried to respond immediately and Mackay-Steven had the ball in the net but was flagged offside again. United then had Fojut to thank for clearing the ball off the line after another Dons header this time following a corner looked goal bound. On the hour mark parity was restored as the Terrors levelled things up in very simple fashion. Substitute Ryan Dow did well to earn a corner which Mackay-Steven swung into the centre for Morris to head into the net powerfully from close range. Aberdeen were then back on the attack and the Tangerine rearguard had to block as Daniels again threatened before a moment of controversy saw an Aberdeen goal chopped off. Another corner was won and Hayes delivery was headed into the net by Adam Rooney only for the referee to disallow the goal for an infringement much to the displeasure of the contingent from Aberdeen. The game continued to flow from end to end and United had Cierzniak to thank on 70 minutes when he acrobatically turned a Ryan Jack attempt from 6 yards over the bar following a McGinn cut back. Dow, who had played a prominent role since coming on, then surged forward on the break and played in Armstrong who was only just blocked by Shay Logan inside the box. In the 76th minute United almost took the lead when Armstrong tried to play in Dow. A header back to Brown was short and Dow was onto the ball first and guided towards the net for what seemed a certain goal until Reynolds got back at the last moment to somehow clear. In the 83rd minute however the 9000 travelling Arabs were in raptures as their side took the lead. A Dow free kick was initially cleared before Dillon headed back into a crowded box where Nadir Ciftci headed backwards into the corner of the net beyond the despairing lunge of Brown in goal. Mackay-Steven made a strong run into the Aberdeen half as the clock ticked down and set up Dow for a shot which was deflected for a corner. The United players did a great job of running down the clock as they held possession at every opportunity and in the end earned themselves the right to return to Hampden in March for the final. Full Time Summary It was every bit the match everyone had hoped for and both teams contributed greatly to make this happen. Over the piece though it was United who fashioned the most clear cut openings and in the end deserved their reward of the chance at winning another piece of silverware. Man of the Match He made some crucial interventions at the back and also managed to pop up at a crucial stage with the equalising goal. The whole team performed to a man but Callum Morris takes the award on the day for his performance. United – Cierzniak, Dillon, Fojut, Paton, Ciftci (Anier 90), Armstrong, Mackay-Steven, Morris, McGowan, Butcher, Telfer (Dow 58). Subs not used – Townsend, Rankin, Erskine, Connolly, Szromnik. Aberdeen – Brown, Logan, Considine, Reynolds, Rooney, McGinn, Hayes, Pawlett (Smith 85), Goodwillie, Jack, Daniels. Subs not used – Flood, Robson, Robertson, Masson, Wright, Langfield. Referee – Steven McLean Attendance - 29608