Aberdeen beat 10-man Ross County to reach League Cup semi-final

Ester Sokler netted what proved to be the winner (Steve Welsh/PA)
PA Sport Staff

Aberdeen booked a trip to Hampden for the League Cup semi-final at Ross County’s expense after a 2-1 win in Dingwall.

Graeme Shinnie’s thunderbolt in the eighth minute set the tone for the match, which was not helped as a contest by Jack Baldwin’s red card six minutes later.

A first competitive goal for Ester Sokler seemed to have wrapped up the win, but Kyle Turner’s late penalty did set up a nervy finish that the Dons saw out for victory.

The Staggies would have been looking for a strong start to remind their visitors what they are capable of after a 4-0 defeat at Pittodrie in the league last Sunday, but instead they went behind early on.

With just seven minutes on the clock, Stefan Gartenmann’s throw in was only half-cleared by Will Nightingale to the edge of the box. Shinnie lined up a volley – hitting it perfectly to clip the underside of the crossbar and in, leaving Ross Laidlaw helpless in goal.

Five minutes later, the situation went from bad to worse for County as their captain Baldwin was sent off.

He was trying to beat Duk to a long ball over the top of the defence, but when a tussle sent the pair to the ground just outside the box Baldwin was deemed to have denied a goalscoring opportunity and was shown a red card.

Bojan Miovski almost doubled the advantage towards the end of the first half with a chip over Laidlaw, but he got a little too much power on the shot, which landed on the roof of the net.

An unfortunate serious injury to Josh Sims in the second half provided the catalyst for County to throw on an extra attacking player.

However, that only meant more space for Aberdeen to exploit going forward and they grabbed a second on the counter attack when Leighton Clarkson picked out an unmarked Sokler to score with his first touch, just seconds after coming on.

County got a goal back with eight minutes left, as Alex Samuel was fouled by Slobodan Rubezic inside Aberdeen’s box with Turner expertly converting the penalty.

Although that set up a frantic conclusion to the match, County could not find a leveller to force the game into extra time.

The result means Ross County’s seven-year wait for a return to the national stadium goes on, while Aberdeen reached the final four of the League Cup for the second successive season.