Aberdeen 2-0 St Johnstone: Duk double ends home side’s five-game winless run

Aberdeen's Luis Lopes scores to make it 1-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Aberdeen and St Johnstone at Pittodrie,
Aberdeen forward Duk scored twice to earn his side victory

Two second-half goals from Duk ended Aberdeen’s five match winless run in the Scottish Premiership as they overcame St Johnstone after a lively contest.

The Cape Verde forward eased growing tension at Pittodrie after some poor recent performances piled pressure on the team and manager Jim Goodwin.

Duk took advantage of some shambolic St Johnstone defending to stab home the opener, and headed in his second 10 minutes later to seal a vital win.

The victory keeps Aberdeen in fourth place and brings them three points behind third-place Hearts, while St Johnstone stay seventh after a fourth straight defeat.

Goodwin and his players badly needed this win amid growing criticism and with a big month ahead, with a League Cup semi-final meeting with Rangers and trips to Tynecastle and Easter Road to come.

And they probably should have been in control by the break. A clever free kick teed Duk up for a well-taken goal, which was correctly ruled out by VAR for offside, while striker Bojan Miovski missed three good chances.

But St Johnstone, who were limp in the first half, improved after the break and looked like making it another awkward afternoon for Aberdeen, as Jamie Murphy and Cammy MacPherson went close.

However, just as the home side looked increasingly vulnerable, Duk latched on to a long ball ahead of disorganized St Johnstone defenders to finish past Remi Matthews and calm things down.

The striker then headed in his 11th goal of the season from a corner to ensure a comfortable finish for Aberdeen, while St Johnstone slumped to another loss in a frustrating finish for Callum Davidson’s normally robust side.

Player of the match – Duke

Aberdeen's Luis Lopes shakes hands with a fan during a cinch Premiership match between Aberdeen and St Johnstone at Pittodrie
The match-winner was outstanding for Aberdeen, and now has 11 goals in all competitions this season

Aberdeen calm the noise – analysis

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this win for Goodwin and his team. They played well in the first half and deserved to be in front, and their victory, but they lost their shape as the game wore on.

But in Duk they have a player who is capable of producing big moments, and his goal came at an ideal time when Aberdeen had ceded control of the match.

Another clean sheet is a big positive given their defensive frailties this season, and gives them something to build on.

Graeme Shinnie was planted straight into the starting XI and his influence was clear. He harried and hassled in midfield and, although he was a bit rusty on the ball in the early stages, he improved in possession as the match wore on.

The former Aberdeen captain could be a big addition in his second spell.

As for St Johnstone, four straight defeat spells trouble. For the second game in a row they offered little in the first half. They simply took too long to get going.

What you usually get from Davidson’s side is a structured shape, and defensive discipline. But they really struggled with simple long balls, which led to several chances for Miovski and Duk’s first goal.

While Duk was unmarked in the six-yard box from a corner for his second. It will need to be back to basics next week for them.

What’s next?

Aberdeen are at Hampden next Sunday to face Rangers in the League Cup semi-final (15:00 GMT) while St Johnstone host Livingston in the league the day before (15:00).

Line-ups

Aberdeen

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24roos
  • 2McCrorie
  • 5Stewart
  • 4Scales
  • 22Coulson
  • 16Ramadani
  • 6ShinnieSubstituted forBarronat 90+1′minutes
  • 33KennedySubstituted forHayesat 61′minutes
  • 20clarksonSubstituted forRamírezat 87′minutes
  • 11de Barros LopesSubstituted forDuncanat 88′minutes
  • 9MiovskySubstituted forBesuijenat 61′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lewis
  • 7Morris
  • 8Barron
  • 10Besuijen
  • 15Watkins
  • 17Hayes
  • 23Duncan
  • 25Richardson
  • 99Ramírez

St Johnstone

Formation 5-4-1

  • 1Matthews
  • 14Wright
  • 5MitchellBooked at 65mins
  • 6GordonSubstituted forClarkat 76′minutes
  • 4Considines
  • 3Gallacher
  • 23CareyBooked at 21mins
  • 13McGowan
  • 18MacPhersonBooked at 62minsSubstituted forCrawfordat 82′minutes
  • 29MurphySubstituted forWotherspoonat 66′minutes
  • 7MaySubstituted forbairat 81′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Brown
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 11O’Halloran
  • 12Parish
  • 17bair
  • 21Crawford
  • 27Kucheriavyi
  • 34Phillips
  • 37Clark

Referees:
Euan Anderson

Attendance:
14.202

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Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

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Aberdeen

  1. Team number24Player nameroos

  2. Team number2Player nameMcCrorie

  3. Team number5Player nameStewart

  4. Team number4Player nameScales

  5. Team number22Player nameCoulson

  6. Team number16Player nameRamadani

  7. Team number6Player nameShinnie

  8. Team number33Player nameKennedy

  9. Team number20Player nameclarkson

  10. Team number11Player nameduk

  11. Team number9Player nameMiovsky

  1. Team number8Player nameBarron

  2. Team number10Player nameBesuijen

  3. Team number17Player nameHayes

  4. Team number23Player nameDuncan

  5. Team number99Player nameRamírez

St Johnstone

  1. Team number1Player nameMatthews

  2. Team number14Player nameWright

  3. Team number5Player nameMitchell

  4. Team number6Player nameGordon

  5. Team number4Player nameConsidines

  6. Team number3Player nameGallacher

  7. Team number23Player nameCarey

  8. Team number13Player nameMcGowan

  9. Team number18Player nameMacPherson

  10. Team number29Player nameMurphy

  11. Team number7Player nameMay

  1. Team number10Player nameWotherspoon

  2. Team number17Player namebair

  3. Team number21Player nameCrawford

  4. Team number37Player nameClark

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