Soccer  

Rangers 2-1 Aberdeen: Kemar Roofe sends Ibrox side into final

Kemar Roofe scores
Kemar Roofe (right) netted for the first time in nine months to send Rangers into the final

Kemar Roofe’s first goal of the season sent Rangers into the Viaplay Cup final to face Celtic as Aberdeen were overcome in an extra-time thriller.

The striker converted fellow substitute Scott Wright’s low cross in the 94th minute to give Rangers the lead for the first time at Hampden.

Aberdeen had led through Bojan Miovski’s clipped shot past Allan McGregor but Ryan Jack’s deflected strike had levelled matters by the time Dons captain Anthony Stewart was sent off late in stoppage time.

Michael Beale’s side soon forced the winner and they will return to Hampden for the final on 26 February.

However, a shoulder injury ended Roofe’s participation in what has already been an injury ravaged season for the forward.

The Hampden pitch bore the scars of Saturday’s semi-final being played in horrible weather but Sunday’s more clement conditions made for an engrossing tie.

Fashion Sakala’s shoulder turned a James Tavernier cross onto an Aberdeen post early on.

VAR had an early impact too, when Miovski netted for the first time. The Dons striker ran on to Leighton Clarkson’s pass and finished superbly from a tight angle on the right, but his celebrations were short-lived with off-side eventually given.

Aberdeen had their tails up and Stewart attacked a corner only to handle with the goal at his mercy.

At the other end, Sakala, Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent fired in shots, with only the latter drawing a save from Kelle Roos.

Moments later, Morelos claimed the ball had crossed the line from his header despite Roos’ save on the line but replays clearly showed the ball was still in play.

And, against the run of play, Aberdeen took the lead.

Miovski was offside from Clarkson’s long ball but Kennedy went through on Borna Barisic’s blind side to cross for Miovski to finish. It was his first goal in six games.

Rangers were rattled and showed little composure until Kent, Morelos and Jack combined just after the hour.

Kent’s flick found Jack, his found Morelos, the striker returned to Jack and the midfielder’s shot went in off Scales. It was Rangers’ best move of the game, aided by a bit of fortune.

Clarkson got the Dons support going again with a fierce strike off the post, though there had been an offside in the build-up.

There was another big talking point before extra time ensued. Sakala tried to escape Stewart on the left only to be scythed down by the defender. It was a straight red.

Tavernier’s shot deflected onto the Aberdeen bar and out as Rangers continued to press in extra time and Roofe, on for Morelos, then got his reward.

Wright meandered his way to the line on the left and cut the ball across for his striker to turn home. It was Roofe’s first goal since April.

Confusion reigned as Walsh consulted with his VAR colleagues amid apparent communication problems but the game continued with Jonny Hayes’ strike forcing a fine stop by McGregor.

Sakala thought he had scored when an effort deflected off Scales but it fell past the post before Roofe made way after landing awkwardly following Scales’ challenge.

Aberdeen had to throw caution to the wind and almost levelled when Scales’ shot at a free-kick was blocked by McGregor.

Player of the match – Ryan Kent

Ryan Kent shoots
The winger’s use of the ball was crucial to Rangers’ advances and his lightness of foot contributed to their leveller

Rangers’ Hampden heroes deliver again in proper cup tie – analysis

For their third Hampden appearance in a row, Rangers found themselves in an extra time contest.

It was Jack and Wright who delivered the goals in last season’s Scottish Cup final win over Hearts and the duo played a big part again.

Jack took responsibility, not just with his goal, but often when a team-mate needed to release the ball, while Wright gave his side a crucial injection of pace right at the start of extra time.

Beale continues his impressive record as Rangers manager with six wins and a draw from seven. A stern test awaits in Celtic next month.

Aberdeen, like Kilmarnock against Celtic on Saturday, brought a lot to the semi-final. Kennedy and Graeme Shinnie in particular led their charge but it’s inarguable the Stewart dismissal harmed their chances.

The defender had attracted headlines earlier in the week for suggesting injured Rangers forward Antonio Colak was “better” than Morelos.

Manager Jim Goodwin had described the remarks as “regrettable” but it was not Morelos or Colak that proved to be Stewart’s undoing, but Sakala.

Goodwin inherited an Aberdeen side that had exited both of last season’s cup competitions early. He has at least taken Aberdeen back to Hampden and another potential cup run beckons in the Scottish Cup.

What they said

Rangers manager Michael Beale: “It feels great. Fair credit to Aberdeen, I thought they were excellent. I thought two teams went toe-to-toe and we’ve come out victorious. I’ve had bad days here (at Hampden) where we’ve played well and I thought we were reasonable and we were through.

“I love Scott Wright when he’s direct. I don’t like it when he picks and chooses his moments. I spoke to him about it through the week and he’s rewarded the team and the fans handsomely this afternoon. It was a fantastic run (for Kemar Roofe’s goal). It was so good to see Kemar scoring on the big stage, he’s a big player for us. Hopefully (his injury) is nothing too serious but it looked a sore one. It’s not a dislocation we don’t believe.”

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin: “We’re extremely disappointed to have been knocked out of the cup at this late stage. Rangers started well, put us on the back foot. Once the game settled down, we grew into it and it was very even. There’s a sense of pride on my part with the effort that the players gave.

“We tried to congest the middle of the pitch and the effort and commitment that the players showed for 120 minutes was quite incredible. We have no arguments about the red card. As soon as the tackle was made, I thought he was off. It was a poor decision from Anthony, he could have stayed on his feet.”

What’s next?

Both teams return to Scottish Premiership duty on Wednesday with Aberdeen away to Heart of Midlothian (19:45 GMT) and Rangers visiting Kilmarnock (20:00)

Player of the match

ShinnieGraeme Shinnie

Rangers

  1. Squad number25Player nameRoofe

  2. Squad number23Player nameWright

  3. Squad number8Player nameJack

  4. Squad number30Player nameSakala

  5. Squad number14Player nameKent

  6. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor

  7. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  8. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  9. Squad number71Player nameTillman

  10. Squad number37Player nameArfield

  11. Squad number44Player nameDevine

  12. Squad number26Player nameDavies

  13. Squad number4Player nameLundstram

  14. Squad number18Player nameKamara

  15. Squad number29Player nameMcCann

  16. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  17. Squad number20Player nameMorelos

Aberdeen

  1. Squad number6Player nameShinnie

  2. Squad number33Player nameKennedy

  3. Squad number9Player nameMiovski

  4. Squad number4Player nameScales

  5. Squad number22Player nameCoulson

  6. Squad number16Player nameRamadani

  7. Squad number20Player nameClarkson

  8. Squad number11Player nameDuk

  9. Squad number2Player nameMcCrorie

  10. Squad number24Player nameRoos

  11. Squad number17Player nameHayes

  12. Squad number8Player nameBarron

  13. Squad number5Player nameStewart

  14. Squad number99Player nameRamírez

  15. Squad number15Player nameWatkins

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 90mins
  • 26Davies
  • 31BarisicBooked at 87minsSubstituted forDevineat 105′minutes
  • 8Jack
  • 4LundstramSubstituted forWrightat 90′minutes
  • 30SakalaSubstituted forArfieldat 105′minutes
  • 71TillmanSubstituted forKamaraat 74′minutes
  • 14Kent
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forRoofeat 74′minutesSubstituted forMcCannat 118′minutesBooked at 119mins

Substitutes

  • 18Kamara
  • 23Wright
  • 25Roofe
  • 29McCann
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
  • 38King
  • 44Devine
  • 51Lowry

Aberdeen

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24Roos
  • 2McCrorieBooked at 70mins
  • 5StewartBooked at 90mins
  • 4Scales
  • 22Coulson
  • 16RamadaniBooked at 120mins
  • 6ShinnieSubstituted forWatkinsat 118′minutes
  • 33KennedyBooked at 88mins
  • 20ClarksonSubstituted forBarronat 74′minutes
  • 11de Barros LopesSubstituted forHayesat 63′minutes
  • 9MiovskiSubstituted forRamírezat 90′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lewis
  • 8Barron
  • 10Besuijen
  • 14Myslovic
  • 15Watkins
  • 17Hayes
  • 23Duncan
  • 25Richardson
  • 99Ramírez

Referee:
Nick Walsh

Attendance:
47,562

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