April 16, 2024

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Aberdeen’s European Night Marred by VAR and Late Collapse

Barry Robson’s frustration was palpable after a rollercoaster of emotions at Pittodrie. Aberdeen had surrendered a two-goal lead against PAOK Salonika in a Conference League match that could have marked their first European group stage win in nearly 16 years. An unexpected collapse in the final 18 minutes of normal time led to disappointment not just for Robson but for the Pittodrie faithful.

The turning point was the VAR decision—or lack thereof. Jack MacKenzie seemed to be clearly fouled in the box, but the penalty wasn’t given. The VAR’s indecision drew incredulity from the stands as Aberdeen’s hopes unraveled. Robson voiced his frustration, claiming that the VAR had made a costly mistake. He lamented that such decisions were not hard to get right and felt that this wasn’t the first time they had been let down by VAR.

Despite the late heartbreak, Robson praised his players’ performance, especially the early second-half goals that seemed to put Aberdeen in control. However, things took a turn for the worse after a triple substitution when they were in the ascendancy.

Questions arose about the timing and choice of substitutions, with fans and pundits wondering why certain changes were made, causing uncertainty and nerviness when they had been comfortable.

Robson may attribute the collapse to various moments—Richard Jenson’s slip, the MacKenzie non-penalty incident, and defensive mishaps. The defeat was a stark reminder of the fragility of success in European competitions for Scottish teams, with Aberdeen desperately wanting to change that narrative.

As Robson faces the aftermath of this European setback, there are bound to be discussions about how to navigate the disappointment and prepare for future challenges. For fans who had been roaring with hope and excitement, this memorable night under the Pittodrie lights will linger for the wrong reasons.