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BBC Scotland's Scott Davie and Willie Miller
"Dundee United totally dominated the opening period."
 real 14k

Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK
United see off dozy Dons
Tassos Venetis celebrates his opening goal
Tassos Venetis celebrates his opening goal
Aberdeen 1-2 Dundee United

Free from relegation concerns, Dundee United turned in a good performance to defeat Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Two early goals put United on the road to victory and a second-half Arild Stavrum counter proved to be no more than a consolation goal.

Greek midfielder Tassos Venetis opened the scoring in the fifth minute with an assured finish.

Derek Lilley doubled the lead with a header ten minutes later.

Jim Lauchlan and Robbie Winters do battle
Jim Lauchlan and Robbie Winters do battle
United had failed to defeat Aberdeen in three previous attempts this season, but they wasted little time in taking the lead.

Charlie Miller pushed a pass through to Venetis who held off Jamie McAllister's challenge and comprehensively finished with the outside of his right foot into the corner of the net.

United kept a grip on proceedings and after 15 minutes they went two ahead.

From an apparently harmless long throw in by Hasney Aljofree, Jim Hamilton headed onwards for Derek Lilley to expertly place a header beyond Ryan Esson from eight yards.

Aberdeen were struggling to make any threat, though they did have an opportunity to score in the 35th minute, but Darren Young blazed over from 12 yards when he should have at least hit the target.

Interesting finale

United almost finished off Aberdeen with what should have been a killer third goal just before the interval.

Youngster Jamie McCunnie laid the ball into the path of Miller who forced Esson into an excellent instinctive save.

From their first half slumber, Aberdeen emerged to at least try and put some urgency into proceedings.

Their best opportunity came in the 50th minute when Derek Young powered a close-range header goalward after taking advantage of slack marking only for United stopper Jim Lauchlan to head the ball off the line.

United seemed content to soak up the half-hearted pressure and they themselves were running on empty until the 70th minute when Jamie Buchan's positive run culminated in his final shot going inches wide.

Arild Stavrum is congratulated on his goal
Arild Stavrum is congratulated on his goal
But Aberdeen managed to pull a goal back in the 73rd minute and in doing so created an interesting finale.

Stavrum hit a free-kick which bent around the wall from 20 yards into Paul Gallagher's left-hand corner, to spark notions of a revival.

They were further encouraged by the introduction of substitute Ross O'Donoghue and the youngster made an instant impact with a couple of terrific attempts within the last few moments.

The first resulted in an excellent save by Gallagher - his first real piece of work of the afternoon - and this was swiftly followed by another long-range drive which just went over the cross bar.

At the other end Dundee United welcomed substitute Jamie Fullarton for five minutes of action - cementing a comeback after five months' absence with an horrific ankle injury.

Aberdeen: Esson, McNaughton, Whyte, McGuire, McAllister, Guntveit, Darren Young, Derek Young, Mackie, Winters, Stavrum.

Subs: Preece, Rutkiewicz, Tiernan, O'Donoghue, Michie.

Dundee Utd: Gallacher, McCunnie, Lauchlan, Griffin, Aljofree, Venetis, Hannah, Miller, Buchan, Lilley, Hamilton.

Subs: Combe, Paterson, Fullarton, Brady, Winters.

Referee: Stuart Dougal

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