Aberdeen ended a run of five Scottish Premiership games without a win thanks to Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes’ second-half double in a 2-0 win against St Johnstone.
Duk had seen a first-half strike ruled out by VAR and out-of-sorts forward Bojan Miovski could have had a hat-trick in a game the Dons could have had out of sight by the interval.
Returning Dons man Graeme Shinnie came straight into the team, slotting into the midfield alongside Ylber Ramadani, and the on-loan Wigan player added some steel to his side’s performance.
The Dons were straight on the attack, with Miovski picking up on a loose touch from Leighton Clarkson, only to see his weak effort beaten away by Remi Matthews in the Saints’ goal.
Matty Kennedy sent a free-kick narrowly wide before St Johnstone came close to opening the scoring through Stevie May, the former Dons man meeting a superb Drey Wright cross but seeing his bullet header flash wide of the upright, with Aberdeen ‘keeper Kelle Roos static.
The home side had the ball in the net midway through the first half when Duk turned on a smart Clarkson free-kick before drilling home a low, angled shot from the left side of the six-yard box, but a VAR check ruled the Cape Verde international to be offside.
Miovski has not scored since before the World Cup break but he was unlucky not to end that run when he lifted over Matthews after Alex Mitchell’s weak defensive header, but the ‘keeper got a touch to take the power off the shot and was able to recover on the line.
Another defensive error, on this occasion from Liam Gordon, saw Miovski through on goal again, but this time his left-footed effort was parried away by the goalkeeper.
The second half descended into a bitty affair, with St Johnstone happy to break up the flow of the game, while neither side really got into a rhythm and there was little action in front of goal as a result.
But after 74 minutes, the home side finally broke the deadlock. With three Dons men charging at the heart of the St Johnstone defence, substitute Vicente Besuijen held the ball up well and rolled into the path of Duk, who stabbed into the bottom-left corner.
Duk then had the ball in the net again 10 minutes later as he and Liam Scales both rose to meet a Jonny Hayes corner, with the striker getting the final touch to turn the ball home from six yards to seal a much-needed win for his side.
Aberdeen’s attention turns to the League Cup, with a semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday January 15 – kick-off 3pm.
The Dons’ next Scottish Premiership match is away to Hearts on January 18 – kick-off 7.45pm.
St Johnstone’s next game is at home to Livingston in the league on Saturday – kick-off 3pm.
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