Writer: South-East Arab
Date:Saturday August 4 2007
Dundee United have won their 1st match of the 2007/08 season, with a 1-0 victory over New Firm rivals Aberdeen.
It is the first time that Dundee United have won the opening match of the SPL season, since beating Dundee 2-1 at Tannadice during the 1999/00 campaign.....8 years ago.
Dundee United should have taken the lead after 30minutes, when Craig Conway`s cross found youngster David Robertson unmarked 12-yards from goal.
Robertson`s bullet header looked goal bound, but Derek Soutar pulled off an incredible save to tip the ball round the post.
However, things took a turn for the worst for Dundee United, as Willo Flood saw red 40mins into his SPL debut at Tannadice.
Flood was cautioned for a foul on Jamie Smith after 32mins, but didn`t heed the warning from referee Mike Tumilty and received a 2nd yellow for simulation, just 10minutes later.
The midfielder chased a forward ball, with Aberdeen defender Jackie McNamara in hot pursuit, but Flood unwisely dived in full view of referee Tumilty and was rewarded with his marching orders.
Aberdeen`s best chance of the entire match came in the 51st minute, when Polish keeper Grzegorz Szamotulski had to react fast to turn a Barry Nicholson header around the post.
A cross from Michael Hart found Nicholson inside the United penalty box and his powerful header was tipped round the post by Szamotulski, at the expense of an Aberdeen corner.
Aberdeen started to take control of the match, but 10-man Dundee United never gave-up and chased every ball in the 2nd half, trying to catch out the visitors on the counter attack.
In the 72nd minute, captain Barry Robson charged up the field and his 12-yard shot beat Aberdeen goalkeeper Souter, but hit the post.
Then in the 82nd minute, Noel Hunt long-range effort was saved well by Derek Soutar, as Dundee United successfully counter-attacked against an Aberdeen side determined to capitalise on their 1man advantage.
Captain Barry Robson was forced off the field late in the game with cramp, as the exhaustion started to show among the Dundee United team.
However, just as it looked like the game would end in a goalless draw, Noel Hunt took full advantage of a defensive blunder to set-up David Robertson, who blasted a right-foot shot high into the net.
United manager Craig Levein gave on-loan keeper Grzegorz Szamotulski his competitive debut and was rewarded with another excellent performance from the former Sturm Graz player.
Former Caley Thistle captain Darren Dods started in the heart of the defence, alongside Garry Kenneth - who came in for the suspended Lee Wilkie.
With keeper Lukasz Zaluska, midfielder Mark Kerr and attacker Jon Daly all out through injury, Levein decided to play with Noel Hunt upfront on his own, but with Willo Flood and Barry Robson in support.
After Flood`s sending off, Craig Conway came on as his replacement, but Levein cant have been very impressed with the young winger, substituting him off in the 57th minute to give Prince Bauben his debut for the club.
Meanwhile, former Dundee United defender Lee Mair came on as a substitute for Jackie McNamara, after quitting Tannadice for a move to Pittodrie in the summer.
Although, he might be regretting signing for the Dons now, as Dundee United open their 2007/08 campaign with a hard-fought win over their New Firm rivals.
Dundee United 1-0 Aberdeen
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Date:Saturday August 4 2007
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