Aberdeen FC 0-0 Hertha BSC Berlin
Aberdeen FC turned in a battling display against highly-fancied German opponents Hertha BSC Berlin but failed to grasp a first-leg advantage their possession deserved at Pittodrie.
Ebbe Skovdahl's side entered the match as massive underdogs but belied their status with a spirited show against the 1. Bundesliga outfit. Hertha, who arrived in the north of Scotland without ten first-team regulars, displayed supreme battling qualities to register an excellent goalless draw, particularly as Derek Young, Russell Anderson and Darren Mackie all had decent opportunities to break the deadlock in the closing 15 minutes as the Scottish side pressed in search of what would have proved a decisive goal.
Much of the first half was a tense affair. Indeed, Aberdeen had to wait until the 39th minute to create a scoring chance worthy of the name when Kevin McNaughton's precise pass sent Mackie racing clear on the right. The youngster's deep cross was headed towards the bottom corner by Laurent Djaffo but Hertha goalkeeper Gábor Kiraly made a superb diving save. His opposite number, Peter Kjaer, had very little to do in the opening 45 minutes, coping easily with weak headers from Luizão and Eyjölfur Sverrisson.
Hertha improved markedly after the interval. Luizão headed just over minutes after the resumption, while Marcelinho also drove narrowly wide of target. As the German side tried to move into top gear, chances were fashioned at either end in the last quarter of the contest. Brothers Darren and Derek Young had two of the better ones, yet both shot straight at Kiraly when well placed in the penalty area.
At the other end, Andreas Neuendorf thought he had won the game for Hertha with a low drive which trickled into the net with 20 minutes remaining, but his effort was disallowed because Marcelinho fouled Phil Maguire as he attempted to clear the ball before it crossed the line. In the end, however, both defences stood firm, setting up an intriguing second leg in Berlin.
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