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  Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Dons draw a blank
Chances were few and far between at Pittodrie
Aberdeen could not find a way past Hertha Berlin
Aberdeen 0-0 Hertha Berlin

Aberdeen were held to a sterile draw by Hertha Berlin in the first leg of their Uefa Cup first round tie at Pittodrie.

The Dons did well to match their Bundesliga opponents but goalscoring chances were few and far between in what was the 100th European clash for the Scottish side.

A crowd of just over 10,000 turned up for the early evening kick off and could not fault the endeavour shown by their favourites.

However, with the scoreline blank at the halfway stage, the Dons will be up against it when they visit Germany in two weeks time.

Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl made three changes to the side which salvaged a late point against Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Experienced Danish Peter Kjaer resumed his usual place in goals and Darren and Derek Young returned to the side to replace Nicolas Fabiano and Patrizio Billio.

Bisconti battles with Marcelinho
Aberdeen more than matched Hertha
The depleted Berlin side arrived at Pittodrie with a long injury list, which included influential players such as captain Michael Preetz, Croatian international defender Josip Simunic, Dick van Burik, Stefan Beinlich and Alex Alves.

However, Brazilian star Marcelinho recovered from a leg injury to make the starting line-up along with another six full internationals.

The Dons made a promising start and were knocking the ball around with confidence without making any significant impact in the final third of the pitch.

Darren powered his way towards the Hertha penalty area but the midfielder's shot from just outside was comfortably dealt with by keeper Gabor Kiraly.

A speculative left foot shot by Darren Mackie forced the Hungarian to pluck the ball from just under the crossbar.

The Bundesliga side appeared content to sit back and contain Aberdeen and rarely pushed many men forward.

In the closing stages of the first half both sides had chances to score.

Hertha skipper Jolly Sverrisson brought out a useful save from Kjaer with a strong header from 12 yards out.

The home side retaliated and a Laurent D'Jaffo header from six yards, after good work from Darren Mackie, drew a great save from Kiraly.

Darren Mackie worked hard in midfield
The Dons battled for every ball
The Dons stepped up the tempo after the break, but it was Hertha who had the first opportunity to break the deadlock.

Belgium star Bart Goor raced down the left and swung in a good cross to the darting Luizao, but the striker's header from close range went narrowly wide.

As the second half wore on Aberdeen were pushed back as the Germans began to play the ball around with more confidence, although any real goal threat was still lacking.

In the 67th minute the home side carved out the best chance of the game and they should have broken the deadlock.

Darren Young slipped his brother Derek in with a clever through ball but the midfielder shot straight at Kiraly from from 10 yards.

Two minutes later Hertha had the ball in the net but Luizao was adjudged to have fouled Russell Anderson on the line and the goal was disallowed.

Aberdeen put up a stirring final push and had the Berlin side defending very deep in the closing stages but could not find a way through.

Aberdeen: Kjaer, McNaughton, Anderson, McGuire, McAllister, Deloumeaux, Darren Young, Bisconti, Derek Young, Mackie, D'Jaffo. Subs: Preece, Mike, Clark, Fabiano, Michie, Payne, Billio.

Hertha Berlin: Kiraly, Tretschok, Sverrisson, Friedrich, Neuendorf, Marcelinho, Hartmann, Dardai, Goor, Luizao, Madlung. Subs: Fiedler, Karwan, Pinto, Nando, Maas, Mladenov, Marx.

Referee: V Tottes (Spain)

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Andy Gillies
"Aberdeen were cheered off the pitch"
Aberdeen captain Darren Young
"We're a bit gutted not to score"

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