Match report: Dons lose 2-0 in ill-tempered friendly with Lokomotiv Tashkent

Aberdeen''s Kenny McLean is confronted.

Aberdeen called time on their Middle East trip with a  2-0 loss to Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent in an ill-tempered friendly in Dubai.

A flare up in what was a bounce game was sparked by an elbow on Dons attacker Ryan Christie.

The friendly against the Uzbekistan League and cup double holders was tense after that at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence.

There was a debut for Manchester City midfielder Chidi Nwakali, who was handed a start .

Nigerian World Cup hopeful Nwakali, 21, has joined the Reds on loan until the end of the season pending a work permit.

He was free to play in Dubai as the match was not classed as an official game.

Nwakali put in an impressive shift in a holding midfield role.

There was no place in the squad for striker Stevie May and new signing Niall McGinn.

Both have been using the camp in Dubai to work back to full fitness.

May has been sidelined with an ankle injury while McGinn, who recently signed until 2021, underwent hernia surgery in early December.

Defender Scott McKenna was on the bench less than 24 hours after Aberdeen rejected a bid from Championship side Hull City for the defender.

More than 100 ex-pat Dons supporters were at the match to cheer on the Reds.

Some had even travelled over from the Granite City especially for the friendly.

In the 12th minute Aberdeen created the first opportunity when Greg Stewart’s 15-yard drive was cleared off the line.

Ryan Christie was quick to race on to the loose ball, but his low shot cracked off the near post.

The Dons were denied the lead in the 24th minute by a superb save from Tashkent keeper Ignatiy Nesterov.

Winger Gary Mackay-Steven whipped over an inviting cross from the left which Stewart met.

His 15-yard header bounced off the ground and the keeper then pushed it over the bar.

Within minutes the Uzbekistan champions were ahead when Islom TUKHTAKHUJAEV raced onto a Marat Birmaev corner to head home.

It was 2-0 two minutes later when Sherzodbek KARIMOV smashed a cut back beyond keeper Joe Lewis.

It all kicked off in the 43rd minute when both sides squared up to one another.

The catalyst was Tukhtakhujaev leading recklessly with his elbow in a challenge with Christie.

Midfielder Kenny McLean came to his team-mate’s rescue and it escalated from there.

The Uzbekistan manager ran on to the pitch and was gesturing and shouting at the Dons bench.

When the rammy ended referee Abdullah Al Buloshy had to take both captains aside to tell them to cool their teams down.

Five minutes later it threatened to boil over again as a group of players came together at the edge of the Tashkent penalty-area.

In the 65th minute Nwakali was booked for a late challenge on Sanjar Shaakhmedov.

Then in the 72nd minute substitute Idris Birmaykin was booked for pulling Shaleum Logan’s shirt after the right-back nutmegged him at the edge of the box.

Skipper Shinnie picked up possession deep in midfield and ran at goal, eluding two challenges.

His powerful drive was straight at the keeper, who comfortably collected in the 73rd minute.

In the dying minutes Aberdeen were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the box, but McLean’s curling drive was deflected wide for a corner.


ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, O’Connor, Reynolds, McLean, Stewart, Rooney, Mackay-Steven, Nwakali, Christie.

Subs: Arnason (for Reynolds 61), McKenna ( for Logan 75), Wright (for Mackay-Steven 75), Maynard (for Rooney 75), Ross (for Stewart 75), Harvie (for Logan 75), Rogers (for Lewis 75), Ball (for O’Connor 75), Campbell  (for Christie 84)

LOKOMOTIV TASHKENT: Nesterov, Bikmaev, Tukhtakhujaev, Makharadze, Mirzaev, Zoteev, Mukhammadiev, Abdullaev, Karimov, Alibaev, Dmitriy.

Subs: Igramov, Karimov, Bobojonov, Shhaakmedov, Mustafaev,Amonov. Birmaykin, Bobur, Bermuratov, Sukjae.