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McInnes admits Aberdeen fell short on the night but questions red card

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes admitted his side were not good enough in their defeat to Rijeka in the Europa League third qualifying round.

However, McInnes felt the early sending off of midfielder Funso Ojo – while other players escaped censure for similar challenges – had a part to play.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, McInnes needed his side to put in a big performance, but they were well short of the mark and lost this second leg by the same scoreline thanks to goals from Stjepan Loncar and Antonio-Mirko Colak.

The Dons boss said: “Up until the sending off we were not good enough. We were a bit excitable with our possession and we needed to settle down in the game. We made poor decisions, and the first goal comes from our corner kick.

“Losing the first goal was like a balloon popping – the fans did their bit, but unfortunately we haven’t done our jobs well enough.

“People may say Rijeka are not this or that, but they’re more than decent. It’s disrespectful to think that they’re an average team. They’re a very good team and capable of taking full advantage of our poor decision making.

“After the sending off, the game is effectively done. I thought it was an awful decision to deem those two challenges as yellow-card offences.

“There’s other challenges going on out there that were deemed not yellow-card offences, and there were Rijeka players with five challenges not getting booked.

“It’s a situation you don’t find yourself in very often, to be 1-0 down and a man down against a good side, but also with the fans turning up expecting to throw everything at it.”

Sam Cosgrove was a surprise name on the Dons team-sheet having been publicly ruled out in the build-up to the match, but McInnes confirmed he was fit, adding: “He’s fit. I wasn’t totally honest yesterday but I wanted their first knowledge of Sam being in the team when they saw the team-sheet.

“He presented better yesterday and he was keen to give it a go, but we took him off early to avoid any more risk ahead of Sunday.”