ABERDEEN bowed out of Europe tonight with their heads held high after a fine display against La Liga’s Real Sociedad.
The Dons lost 3-2 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate but gave it absolutely everything against a top, top side at Pittodrie.
The Dons had a dream chance in just the third minute after Pawlett won a free kick on the by-line. McGinn took it and cut the ball back to the unmarked Hayes on the penalty spot but he completetly missed his kick.
Aberdeen then had a goal disallowed on 16 minutes. A Niall McGinn corner was only half cleared and as the ball came back into the box Ryan Jack pounced to ram home what he thought was the opener, only to be denied by the offside flag.
The opener did come in the 27th minute, but it didn’t come for the Dons. A Chori Castro corner was flicked in at the near post by Xabi Prieto.
Just before the break though Aberdeen leveled through Peter Pawlett. David Goodwillie’s shot was blocked by a defender and Pawlett reacted quickest to slam the ball home past Zubikarai.
Five minutes into the second half there were loud appeals for a penalty from the Red Army after Hayes went down in the box, However referee Shmuelevitz booked the winger for diving.
Aberdeen then stunned Sociedad by taking the lead on the night. McGinn’s inch-perfect cross found Reynolds who bulleted his header into the net.
Derek McInnes then brought Rooney on as he looked to pull off one of the biggest results in the club’s history. But his players had given everything and were absolutely dead on their feet.
Real Sociedad were looking more and more dangerous as the Dons tired and Conales drilled a shot inches past Langfield’s post with about 10 minutes left.
On 85 minutes though Shay Logan brought down de la Bella in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Prieto chipped his penalty down the middle to make it 2-2 on the night.
Football can be a cruel game and so it proved in the 90th minute when Sociedad snatched a winner with an excellent Bergara header.
The Dons were denied a win or even a draw on the night, but can still go out without any regrets knowing they gave their absolute all for the cause.