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Stunning Maddison strike gives Aberdeen win over Rangers

James Maddison scores with a fabulous 90th-minute free kick

Maddison scores with a fabulous 90th-minute free kick

James Maddison curled in a wonderful late free-kick as Aberdeen beat Rangers at Pittodrie in their first meeting since January 2012.

The teenager found the top corner from 25 yards to settle a scruffy game punctuated by nine bookings.

Jonny Hayes broke clear of a static Rangers defence at the start of the second half to steer home a low shot.

Hayes then gave away a penalty, converted by Andy Halliday, for impeding a strong Lee Wallace run.

Aberdeen move up to second, four points behind Celtic, while Rangers have gone four league matches without a win and drop into the bottom half.

Rangers in control

The visitors were dominant in the opening half. They were accurate and threatening – all of the things that Aberdeen were not. The Dons were lamentably bad; their midfield was bossed and their use of the ball was dreadful. They were fortunate not to be behind at the break.

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They could thank Joe Lewis for that. When Joe Garner’s 27th minute shot deflected viciously off Shay Logan it looked like it was going to end up in Aberdeen’s net. Lewis did marvellously to adjust his position and claw it away at the last second.

Aberdeen were passive and Rangers were comfortable. The problem for them is that they failed to make their dominance pay. Seven goals from six league games before this one suggests that this is a team that is missing cutting edge.

Hayes strikes

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Hayes shoots Aberdeen ahead

Dons manager Derek McInnes Derek McInnes replaced Peter Pawlett with Maddison at half-time in an effort to address the imbalance in midfield. What an influence he would have later.

Only 20 seconds had gone in the second half before life got a whole lot better for the Dons. A long ball out of defence, a flick-on from Adam Rooney and suddenly Hayes – now playing centre-forward – was away down the left. James Tavernier, a defensive calamity for Rangers, was nowhere to be found. Neither were the Rangers centre-halves.

Hayes galloped on to score and once again shine a light on how vulnerable this Rangers defence can be.

Rangers fight back

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Halliday scores from the penalty spot

The goal was cruel on Rangers, but they found something in adversity. Hayes was finding all sorts of space – Tavernier was caught upfield time and again – but it was Rangers who scored next. And, bizarrely, it was Aberdeen’s most dangerous player who was culpable.

Hayes grabbed a fistful of Wallace’s shirt, taking down the visiting captain, and Halliday put away the penalty for a deserved equaliser.

Sting in the tail

With the game in its dying minutes, Aberdeen won a free-kick 25 yards from goal when Tavernier was judged to have brought down Hayes. Later, Rangers manager Mark Warburton railed against the decision, saying that Tavernier had taken the ball in an excellent tackle. McInnes, unsurprisingly, disagreed.

What was beyond argument was the beauty of Maddison’s effort. The 19-year-old on loan from Norwich, stood over it and proceeded to launch the most sumptuous strike over the defensive wall and into the net via the inside of Wes Foderingham’s left-hand post. Stunning.

For Aberdeen, a hugely important win achieved on a day when they failed to produce anything like their best stuff. It’s been a big week for the Dons, who reached the League Cup semi-finals on Thursday with another last-gasp goal.

For Rangers – deep frustration because they deserved more. Nine points from seven games, though, is poor. Warburton has many issues to address.

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Rangers 1.

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Rangers 1.

Foul by Barrie McKay (Rangers).

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Aberdeen. Ash Taylor replaces Adam Rooney.

Goal! Aberdeen 2, Rangers 1. James Maddison (Aberdeen) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

James Tavernier (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Shaleum Logan.

Foul by Kenny Miller (Rangers).

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Barrie McKay (Rangers).

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Andy Halliday (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kenny McLean (Aberdeen).

Clint Hill (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Maddison (Aberdeen).

Foul by Barrie McKay (Rangers).

Anthony O’Connor (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Danny Wilson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Goal! Aberdeen 1, Rangers 1. Andy Halliday (Rangers) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty Rangers. Lee Wallace draws a foul in the penalty area.

Substitution, Aberdeen. Wes Burns replaces Niall McGinn.

Penalty conceded by Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) after a foul in the penalty area.

Substitution, Rangers. Kenny Miller replaces Joe Garner.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by James Tavernier.

Foul by Lee Wallace (Rangers).

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Clint Hill (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Lee Wallace (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Attempt missed. James Maddison (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Wes Foderingham.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37399377