Scottish Cup
MotherwellMotherwell3AberdeenAberdeen0

Motherwell 3-0 Aberdeen

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at Hampden

Motherwell hustled Aberdeen out of the Scottish Cup semi-final to reach their second final of the season.

Curtis Main and Ryan Bowman scored twice in two minutes in the first-half as Motherwell established their authority.

Aberdeen toiled, even as manager Derek McInnes sent on an array of attacking substitutes.

Main added a third after the break with a fine finish following a Kari Arnason mistake at the back.

Motherwell reached their first Scottish Cup final since 2011 with the victory, having also knocked Aberdeen out of this season's League Cup on their way to losing to Celtic in the final.

It was a measure of Aberdeen's grim afternoon at Hampden that their first shot on target - from Adam Rooney - did not come until the 62nd minute. They committed critical errors in defence, but Stephen Robinson's side were alert and ruthless enough to take full advantage.

Curtis Main scores against Aberdeen
Curtis Main opened the scoring at Hampden from close range after Richard Tait crossed from the left

If Motherwell supporters need a new song to sign, how about 'Here's to you Mr Robinson'? Their manager certainly deserves some recognition, having steered the team to a second final in five months.

The foundation for that achievement was a steely performance in which they capitalised ruthlessly on opportunities. Their performance was outstanding in many ways.

Latterly, having pulled into a two-goal lead, they built a solid wall that Aberdeen could not breach, before finishing them off as Main - a powerful, relentless figure up front - completed the scoring.

Yet McInnes' side had started brightly enough, although they failed to overly threaten the Motherwell goal in what was more of a battle than a football match early on.

Aberdeen's Shay Logan, Kenny McLean and Graeme Shinnie at Hampden
Aberdeen lined up without first-team regulars Shay Logan, Kenny McLean and captain Graeme Shinnie

However, the decisive period of the match emerged suddenly, as Motherwell swiftly and decisively took control.

A long ball caused problems for the Aberdeen defence, with Motherwell wing-back Richard Tait stealing in behind Dominic Ball on the left near the penalty box.

Ball paused, claiming for a foul after the ball struck Tait on the upper arm, and Motherwell took advantage of the defender's decision to stop and turn towards the referee Kevin Clancy. Tait escaped then squared for Main, who tapped home from close range.

As if that moment was not bad enough, Aberdeen's defence was again breached all too easily just two minutes later. Captain Scott McKenna failed to deal with a header, slicing a clearance back towards his own goal.

Bowman was alert and powerful, hustling past Arnason before seeing his shot pushed away by Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis. Bowman was first to react again, though, and turned home the rebound.

Motherwell striker Ryan Bowman scores against Aberdeen
Ryan Bowman scored Motherwell's second goal two minutes after they took the lead at Hampden

The Dons tried to respond, but could not get their creative players involved enough, with Motherwell happy to stand firm at the back whenever probed.

They still carried a threat in attack, though, and Bowman looked likely to add a third on the break after superb link up play between Main and Allan Campbell. At the vital moment, the striker handled and was punished.

Aberdeen had a chance to regroup when midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali went over his ankle and had to be replaced. McInnes brought on winger Gary MacKay-Steven, to line-up with four attackers on the field, and he almost made an immediate impact.

Mackay-Steven turned his marker adroitly then played in Stevie May, but the striker's angled effort flashed across goal and wide. It seemed exactly the type of chance that Motherwell would have taken.

In the second half, McInnes switched to a back three - mirroring Motherwell's formation - and brought on another forward in winger Niall McGinn.

Aberdeen midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali
Aberdeen midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali had to be replaced in the first half after injuring his ankle

The Northern Irish international released Rooney but his powerful shot was parried by Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson in what was Aberdeen's first effort on target.

The pressure began to build, but Motherwell were defensively sound and secured their victory with another impressive execution after an Aberdeen error.

On the halfway line, Arnason played the ball straight off Main, who raced clear. He carried the ball to the edge of Aberdeen's penalty area then remained calm enough to expertly lift a shot over the advancing Lewis and into the net.

Main's goals were significant, but so too was his overall performance - full of energy, bustle, menace and might. They were qualities that, in fact, defined Motherwell as a whole.

It was an excellent display by Robinson's hard-working side, and a memorable occasion for their fans as they secured a return trip to Hampden at the end of May.

Line-ups

Motherwell

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1Carson
  • 21Kipre
  • 19Aldred
  • 18Dunne
  • 15Rose
  • 2Tait
  • 7Cadden
  • 4GrimshawSubstituted forMacLeanat 88'minutes
  • 22Campbell
  • 9MainSubstituted forNewellat 87'minutes
  • 12BowmanSubstituted forCiftciat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Newell
  • 5Bigirimana
  • 11Frear
  • 13Griffiths
  • 23Ciftci
  • 26MacLean
  • 34Maguire

Aberdeen

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 18BallSubstituted forMcGinnat 62'minutes
  • 14Árnason
  • 19McKennaBooked at 81mins
  • 4Considine
  • 5O'ConnorBooked at 57mins
  • 23NwakaliSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 44'minutes
  • 8StewartBooked at 88mins
  • 22Christie
  • 83May
  • 9RooneySubstituted forCosgroveat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Reynolds
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 15Wright
  • 17McGinn
  • 27Cosgrove
  • 30Woodman
  • 44Campbell
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
18,470

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home7
Away16
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away1
Fouls
Home16
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 3, Aberdeen 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 3, Aberdeen 0.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ross MacLean (Motherwell).

  5. Post update

    Kári Arnason (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Ross MacLean replaces Liam Grimshaw.

  7. Booking

    Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

  8. Post update

    Tom Aldred (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. George Newell replaces Curtis Main.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  13. Post update

    Kári Arnason (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Motherwell).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Christie (Aberdeen).

  17. Post update

    Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Cedric Kipre (Motherwell).

  19. Post update

    Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Nadir Ciftci (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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