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Preview: Kairat vs. Aberdeen

Sports Mole peers ahead to the Europa League third qualifying round first leg tie between Kazakhstani side Kairat and Scottish outfit Aberdeen.

Kazakhstani outfit Kairat stand between Aberdeen and the playoff round of qualifying in this year's Europa League.

The first leg sees Derek McInnes's side make the lengthy, 4,000km-plus trip to Almaty, the largest, but not capital city of Kazakhstan in the South-Eastern corner of the country not far from the border with China.


The Almaty-based outfit possessed the Kazakhstan Premier League's best player last season in Bauyrzhan Islamkhan, but could only manage a third-place finish for the second straight season.

Last year they fell at the second qualifying round by going down 2-1 on aggregate to Danish side Esbjerg.

This time around they drew Armenian side Alashkert and a convincing 3-0 home win in the first leg led to a 4-2 aggregate triumph to set up this meeting with Aberdeen.

Nicknamed the People's Team, Kairat have been managed by former Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss since 2012.

Their overall record in Europe is played 14, won six, drawn two and lost six.

Recent form: WWWL


Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes jogs onto the pitch during the Pre Season Friendly match between Aberdeen and FC Twente at Pittodrie Stadium on July 26, 2013© Getty Images

Derek McInnes's side finished in the top two of Scottish football for the first time in over 20 years last term, ending the season 17 points behind champions Celtic.

It meant a place in the first qualifying round for the Europa League, and they squeezed past Macedonian outfit Shkendija on away goals before an impressive 3-0 win away in Croatia propelled them to a 5-2 aggregate victory over Rijeka last week.

It is the second year in a row that Aberdeen have been in the Europa League after their Scottish League Cup triumph in 2014 that earned them a place in last year's competition.

The Dons have matched their run from 12 months ago by reaching the third round and they will be confident of going one better this year with a more favourable draw.

Last year they conceded just one goal in the opening four ties to advance to the third round, but then let in five over two legs as they went down 5-3 on aggregate to David Moyes's Real Sociedad.

Speaking of Moyes, his predecessor at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, was in charge of the Dons during their European golden year in 1983 when they won the European Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup.

After this week's trip to Kazakhstan, McInnes's men will hastily return home ahead of the opening day of the domestic season when they travel to face Dundee United on Sunday.

Recent form: DDWD

Team News

David Goodwillie of Aberdeen FC controls the ball during the UEFA Europa League third round qualifying first leg match against Real Sociedad on August 12, 2014© Getty Images

Niall McGinn is the Dons' top scorer in Europe this season with two goals in four games, and he will again hope to contribute behind striker David Goodwillie.

Kenny McLean and Peter Pawlett could compete for a starting spot, with McInnes likely to stick with a similar XI to the one that has featured in Europe so far this term.

One player for Aberdeen to keep an eye on is Gerard Gohou, who has scored 30 goals in 33 games for Kairat since joining them last summer.

The Kazakhstani outfit have also recently signed Ukrainian veteran Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, formerly of Bayern Munich.

Kairat possible starting lineup:
Plotnikov, Markovic, Soares, Kuantayev, Tymoshchuk, Isael, Kuat, Islamkhan, Riera, Gohou, Lunin

Aberdeen possible starting lineup:
Ward, Quinn, Considine, Logan, Jack, Shinnie, Hayes, McLean, McGinn, Taylor, Goodwillie

Head To Head

These two sides have never met before.

The winner will advance to the playoff round of qualifying, the last stage before the groups where the 29 winners from the third qualifying round are joined by the 15 losers from the Champions League third qualifying round.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Kairat 0-0 Aberdeen

Kairat have scored five goals in their previous two home ties in qualifying, and McInnes will be keen for his side to shut up shop so that they can put the tie to bed back at Pittodrie next week.

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Nicky Low of Aberdeen during the Pre Season Friendly match between Aberdeen and FC Twente at Pittodrie Stadium on July 26, 2013
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CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171144
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Great BritainGreat Britain79925
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Pre-Season Friendlies
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
Ligue 2
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Chinese Super League
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