The tie of the round came a night earlier than the rest, with these two having already met in league action at the same venue and previously drawing 1-1.
In dramatic fashion, Aberdeen came through on penalties against Hibernian, progressing into the Semi-Finals of the Betfred Cup. This was after a 0-0 draw that was far from boring.
Hibs had made three changes from their routine victory at Dens Park. Out dropped Daryl Horgan, David Gray and Vykintas Slivka replaced by Ryan Porteous, Emerson Hyndman and Oli Shaw.
Aberdeen making just the one change following their 1-0 victory over Motherwell at Pittodrie, Max Lowe replacing Niall McGinn on the left flank.
It was the Dons who would have the first opportunity of the match. Gary Mackay-Steven’s free kick bouncing in and around the Hibs area and despite Andrew Considine’s best efforts he couldn’t stab home from close range, Mark Milligan eventually hooking clear.
The home side, however, had their fair share of opportunities.
Their first came after Emerson Hyndman was found by Stevie Mallan through the middle of the park. The Bournemouth loanee feeding through to Swiss striker Florian Kamberi who got past his man and round Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis before he opted to swivel and take the shot with his right foot into an open goal when it really favoured the left foot in order to put the home side in front.
Mallan and Hyndman were at the heart of Hibs first few opportunities, after the pair linked up again, Hyndman shot from the edge of the area but the American blazed his shot over the bar as the game remained a stalemate.
Both teams threaten with free kicks
This last effort came before a Mallan free kick full of dip and swerve, as per usual from the dead ball specialist, this one bouncing just over the bar and onto the roof of the net in front of the travelling Aberdeen fans.
It was up the other end though where the best free kick of the match took place, Dominic Ball smashing the crossbar before the ball bounced down. No real need for a goal decision system as it clearly wasn’t over the line but it was certainly an excellent effort from the English holding midfielder, on loan from Rotherham United, after former Hibs manager Alan Stubbs brought him to Yorkshire.
Hyndman again tried his luck after receiving from Kamberi following a Martin Boyle knock down. The Dundonian winger steering the ball into the back of the net shortly after, thinking he’d given the capital club the lead but it was ruled out after he was adjudged to have handled the ball before controlling and slotting past the onrushing Lewis.
Martin Boyle’s biggest advantage in his game is his blistering pace and peeling off the right hand side with well-timed runs and getting into good attacking positions. On this occasion, after being slotted through by Hyndman in behind Max Lowe, he opted to shift onto his left foot before dragging well wide of the mark, excellent in creating the chance with his pace but he really ought to have done better with the finish and could even have cut back to Oli Shaw in the Aberdeen area.
The game somehow remains scoreless
In what was already an exhilarating encounter, Sam Cosgrove shielded off Efe Ambrose before slotting Gary Mackay-Steven through. He would shoot across Adam Bogdan but the Hungarian was equal to his effort as Aberdeen looked to start the second half on the front foot.
Hibs, who had the better chances within the first 45, would respond with another Florian Kamberi chance. Paul Hanlon played a long ball forward on the deck which the former Grasshopper man cleverly feinted and allowed to run through his legs. He beat Mikey Devlin with his pace, before working it back onto his right foot. After doing the seemingly hard, however, he then blazed his effort high over the bar.
The home side also had chances to take the lead. Once again a Stevie Mallan free kick caused problems, with club captain Paul Hanlon unable to steer home from a tight angle. Joe Lewis produced a great stop with his chest to deny the Hibs centre-back.
As the game went into extra time, Thomas Agyepong came off the bench for Hibs. Full of pace and trickery and looking to build on his goal at Dens, the Ghanaian received from Efe Ambrose before chopping inside Graeme Shinnie. He then sent a weak left-footed effort straight at the Englishman in goal.
Aberdeen have their chances
Aberdeen could’ve also nicked the game in the additional 30 mins with numerous opportunities.
Shay Logan intercepting before finding Chris Forrester off the bench, who passed to Stevie May. After a tidy touch to nip away from the attention of Milligan, the striker raced away. But regular goals have been missing from his game for some time and he dragged a shot painfully wide of the target, not troubling Adam Bogdan whatsoever.
Their best chance though was still to come. Gary Mackay-Steven fed the ball inside to Dominic Ball and the Dons had a man over in Niall McGinn, the fresh legs off the bench were evident as he surged into the box but he blasted his shot high and wide of the mark. Such a seemingly promising counter attack ending in a disappointing effort all things considered.
Into the second half of extra time, Aberdeen had certainly had the better of the chances. They could’ve put the tie probably beyond Hibs, following a seemingly aimless long ball forward from Joe Lewis, which should have been basic stuff for the opposing centre backs, Porteous and Ambrose . It resulted in Stevie May nipping between the duo before looking to lob Bogdan. The Hibs keeper, however, was able to deny him.
Aberdeen were nearly made to pay for the sitters missed in extra time, Hibs should’ve nicked it from their north-east visitors. Agyepong again was proving a pest for Aberdeen, crossing for Ryan Porteous. The young centre half headed before Andy Considine deflected over his own crossbar.
And so it came down to a penalty shootout, Hibs having the better of the 90 mins and Aberdeen having the better of extra time. Penalties were the best way to conclude an absolute thriller, with the score-line absolutely not reflecting the contest.
The drama of penalties
Aberdeen were up first, Graeme Shinnie scored before Stevie Mallan would miss for Hibs. Aberdeen would go two penalties up in the shootout through Gary Mackay-Steven before Slivka replied for Hibs. Niall McGinn would then miss for Aberdeen, in what was a reflection of his night. Steven Whittaker then made it all level on penalties, scoring for Hibs from the spot.
From there, the penalties went back and forth. Aberdeen scoring through Forrester, May, McKenna and Logan. Hibs responding with Stevenson, Boyle and Shaw before Thomas Agyepong crashed his spot kick off the crossbar resulting in a 6-5 victory for the Dons on penalties. This sets up an intriguing last-four tie versus Rangers at Hampden in the earlier kick off.