It was a game of two penalties, after Aberdeen secured a vital away goal against FC Chikhura Sachkhere in Tbilisi this evening (Thursday 25 July 2019) to give us the advantage for the return leg at Pittodrie next Thursday.
Derek McInnes gave Funso Ojo a debut, Craig Bryson was on the bench. Mikey Devlin was out with a hamstring injury and Greg Leigh was also out injured.
Our injury woes at the back were made worse when Ash Taylor came off injured early in the first half after making a challenge on Irakli Lekvtadze, meaning Craig Bryson made an early appearance from the bench which then needed a bit of a team re-shuffle. Jon Gallagher was pushed to right back, Shay Logan came over to the left and Andy Considine moved next to Scott McKenna at centre-half.
Up to that point the Dons were fairly comfortable, but the enforced changes had an effect on the flow of the game, and it didn’t take long against the run of play for referee Fesnic to award a penalty after he brought down Lekvtadze in the box. Joe Lewis nearly saved the penalty but was unable to keep the ball out of the net and put the Georgians ahead.
There was a further shuffle of the Dons pack for the start of the second-half. Jon Gallagher went back to his midfield role.
It still wasn’t coming together for the Dons, and we were lucky not to go further behind after Mikheil Sardalishvili lashed a shot over our goal.
In the 64th minute, we were awarded a penalty after a Maisashvili handball. Sam Cosgrove stepped up to the spot and slotted it home to make things level.
Joe Lewis made a magnificent save in the 85th minute by touching Mikheil Ergemlidze’s effort over the crossbar.
It was an uninspiring performance but The Dons go into the game next week with the away goal advantage and the winners will meet HNK Rijeka of Croatia in the third round.