Dundee edge Aberdeen after VAR penalty drama

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Dundee edge Aberdeen after VAR penalty drama

Luke McCowan’s penalty sent Dundee back into the Scottish Premiership top six and left Aberdeen facing a battle against the drop.

McCowan’s fourth goal in six games – and his eighth overall this season – earned Tony Docherty’s side a deserved 1-0 win at Dens Park.

The midfielder netted in the 66th minute following a lengthy VAR check which ultimately saw Jack MacKenzie penalised for handball.

The home side had dominated the first half but some hesitancy in front of goal, good goalkeeping from Kelle Roos and some poor deliveries from corners kept the scores blank at half-time.

Aberdeen were led into the game by first-team coach Peter Leven, who was back in caretaker charge for the second time in six weeks following the end of Neil Warnock’s brief spell at the helm.

Aberdeen stretch their winless league run to 11 games

Image: Aberdeen stretch their winless league run to 11 games

But the Dons have now gone 11 league games without victory and the defeat leaves them just three points clear of the danger zone following second-bottom Ross County’s stoppage-time equaliser against Hibernian, which allowed Dundee to jump above the Edinburgh side.

Any slim hopes of a top-six push vanished completely as results on the night left the Dons nine points behind Dundee with four games until the split.

They face another away game on Saturday, against Motherwell, before the anticipated appointment of a long-term successor to Barry Robson during the international break, although the visiting fans clearly had little faith in the decision-makers as they chanted “sack the board” in the closing minutes.

The home side were quickly on the front foot and Curtis Main should have converted the rebound after Roos parried Scott Tiffoney’s strike. The former Dons striker took a touch and the goalkeeper smothered.

A brilliant Dodgson cross was just too far in front of Main six yards out before Dundee had a penalty claim for handball when Connor Barron blocked Tiffoney’s shot. Referee Steven McLean delayed and then gave a free-kick to Aberdeen inside the box.

Dundee remained well on top. Roos bravely denied Lyall Cameron as the midfielder slid in to meet Main’s low cross and the Dutchman tipped over Dodgson’s long-range striker.

Angus MacDonald blocked well from Tiffoney and Cameron shot just wide as Dundee continued to probe.

Aberdeen looked slightly better at the start of the second half but they fell behind after initially surviving a free-kick into the box.

McLean kept the 8,215 crowd waiting even after going to his monitor but he eventually pointed to the spot and McCowan sent Roos the wrong way.

Cameron soon had a great chance to double the lead but he dragged a shot wide following Tiffoney’s square ball.

Dundee continued to create chances and Roos saved from Cameron and Main.

There was plenty of effort from the visitors but home goalkeeper Jon McCracken remained untested other than from aerial balls until he held two headers from substitute Ester Sokler in the closing stages.

Docherty lauds ‘outstanding’ performance

Dundee manager Tony Docherty:

“I thought it was a fantastic performance, one of the best of the season.

“We had huge dominance in the first half, I was bemoaning a final pass and cross but the level of performance was outstanding.

“Before the game we were bemoaning the fact we were surrendering too many leads. I felt, when we went 1-0 up, I didn’t have any fear we would lose the game.

“Aberdeen threw a lot at us but the mentality of the team was fantastic and it shows we are learning and developing.”

Leven: I apologise to the fans – we are running out of games

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Aberdeen caretaker boss Peter Leven admits the league form has been terrible and says the club may look to appoint a permanent manager during the next international break.

Aberdeen caretaker Peter Leven:

“Not good enough. First half, really poor. Started well second half and the goal has killed us. But, for me, not enough quality on the ball and we dropped too deep.

“I just said to them, listen, we are in trouble. You have got to find a way. We had some honest words in there.

“We are running out of games and we have got to pick up points. Yeah, I could blame VAR but it’s just not good enough. (The penalty) was harsh, I have only seen one replay, but whatever I can say can’t change it.

“We have got to stand up and be counted now, that was nowhere near good enough for Aberdeen Football Club.

“Better teams have gone down, probably. It’s a big game on Saturday now.

“It’s about desire, playing for the badge, playing for the fans. We never picked up second balls, we never tested them.

“I apologise to the fans. They pay their hard-earned cash to come here and follow us all over Europe and Scotland.”

What’s next?

Sunday 17th March 11:00am Kick off 12:00pm

Sky Sports Football HD Sky Sports Football HD

Aberdeen’s next Scottish Premiership match is away to Motherwell on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

Dundee host Rangers on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, kick off 12pm.

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