Hibs dominate but fail to score
Hibernian were left frustrated and disappointed as they lost 0-1 to Aberdeen in the Viaplay Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Saturday. The Easter Road side had the better chances and possession, but could not find a way past the inspired goalkeeper David Marshall, who made several crucial saves to deny Hibs.
Hibs thought they had taken the lead early in the second half, when Martin Boyle tapped in from close range after a cross from Jordan Obita, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside. Hibs continued to press and create opportunities, but Marshall was equal to everything they threw at him.
The Aberdeen keeper denied Boyle again with a superb reflex save, then tipped over a header from Jair Tavares, and finally kept out a powerful shot from Élie Youan. Hibs also hit the post through Lewis Miller, and had a penalty appeal turned down when Boyle went down under a challenge from Stefan Gartenmann.
Aberdeen survive red card and strike late
Aberdeen had few chances of their own, and struggled to cope with Hibs’ pace and movement. They were reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute, when Jack MacKenzie received his second yellow card for a needless push on Miller. It seemed like the game was slipping away from the Dons, but they had a secret weapon in their ranks: Bojan Miovski.
The North Macedonia international had been quiet for most of the game, but he showed his quality and composure when it mattered most. In the 78th minute, he latched onto a long ball from Connor Barron, raced past the Hibs defence, and slotted the ball past Marshall’s opposite number Jojo Wollacott. It was a stunning finish from Miovski, who scored his 10th goal of the season and sent the Aberdeen fans into ecstasy.
Miovski hailed as hero by Robson and Shinnie
Miovski’s goal proved to be the winner, as Aberdeen held on for a remarkable victory and booked their place in the final against either Rangers or Hearts, who play on Sunday. Miovski was praised by his manager Barry Robson, who said: “Bojan is the man we wanted that chance to fall to. He was clinical, he picked his spot and he slotted it home. He’s been running and chasing – he’s hardly had a kick all game – but 15 minutes to go, he’s still got the power in those legs to break away.”
Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie also hailed Miovski’s contribution, saying: “Bojan is the difference-maker for us. He’s been fantastic all season, scoring goals and creating chances. He’s a joy to play with, and he deserves all the credit for that goal. He’s a match-winner, and he’s taken us to the final.”
Hibs rue missed chances and lack of luck
Hibs were left to wonder what might have been, as they failed to avenge their defeat to Aberdeen in the 2016 Scottish Cup final. Hibs manager Nick Montgomery was gracious in defeat, but admitted that his side were unlucky not to score. He said: “I’m proud of the players, they gave everything they had. We dominated the game, we created so many chances, but we couldn’t take them. We hit the post, we had a goal disallowed, we had a penalty claim, but it wasn’t our day.”
Montgomery also praised Marshall for his performance, saying: “He was outstanding, he made some unbelievable saves. He’s a top-class goalkeeper, and he showed why today. He kept them in the game, and he gave them a chance to win it. We can’t fault our players, they did everything they could, but sometimes you need a bit of luck, and we didn’t have it today.”