RoPS Rovaniemi vs AberdeenUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:00 Jul 18, 2019, Rovaniemen Keskuskentta
ABERDEEN will only have themselves to blame if they fall to a shock defeat in Lapland and Christmas comes early for RoPS Rovaniemi.
The Dons were all over the Finns in the first leg at Pittodrie but some poor finishing, inspired goalkeeping and one lapse of concentration cost them dear.
Aberdeen had 36 attempts at goal in that game, with 15 of them on target but only managed to get past former Inverness keeper Antonio Reguero twice.
And when RoPS sub Tommi Jantti raced through in stoppage time to fire home a priceless away goal, it left this tie hanging in the balance.
Boss Derek McInnes admitted his side had blown a golden opportunity to kill the Finns off but backed them to be more clinical in front of goal in the return.
You have to remember that the first leg was Aberdeen's first game of the new season so it's natural there was a lack of sharpness. But I was left cursing that sloppy late concession as it scuppered two of my tips, having backed the Dons to wins both halves and to come out on top without conceding.
While McInnes' side were clearly a cut above RoPS at Pittodrie, it could be a different story in Finland, especially if the home team manage to score first and take the lead on away goals.
However, I share the Aberdeen gaffer's confidence that his side will prevail, even though Scottish clubs have previous for embarrassing results against European minnows.
The Dons will be fitter and sharper so they should qualify, which is why the bookies make them a best 2/9 (Skybet) to go through. Key summer signing Craig Bryson wasn't fit enough to play in the first leg but could feature in the return and that will boost their chances further.
The odds are a bit more generous for an Aberdeen win on the night at 17/20 with Marathonbet and I'll be sticking a few quid on that. If you want to get a better return for your money, back a Dons victory with Sam Cosgrove scoring, which is 9/5 with Skybet. Last season's top scorer got off the mark in the first leg and that should give Cosgrove lots of confidence.
RoPS should offer more of a threat on home soil so I like the look of both teams to score, which is a generous 21/20 at Sportingbet. Given the amount of chances created in the first leg, backing a lot of goals could also pay off, with 888 Sport offering a generous 14/5 on over 3.5 goals.
This UEFA Europa League match between RoPS Rovaniemi and Aberdeen will be played on Jul 18, 2019 and kick off at 17:00