Football: Albertz is on the spot

Aberdeen 2 Newell 34, Jess 50 Rangers 4 Porrini 10, Wallace 11, Albertz pen 86, Kanchelskis 90 Half-time: 1-2 Attendance: 19,537
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The Independent Online
JORG ALBERTZ may be known as The Hammer, but Andrei Kanchelskis is no heavyweight. Between them, the pair produced two late blows which floored Aberdeen after Rangers had been on the ropes for almost an hour.

Down to 10 men, the leaders were hanging on when John Inglis rashly brought down Kanchelskis, allowing Albertz to thump an 86th-minute penalty. Aberdeen had earlier fought back from a two-goal deficit, but this was too much.

As they chased an equaliser, Rangers conjured an injury-time break which allowed Kanchelskis to walk the ball in and seal a travesty of a scoreline.

The undertones which surround this encounter make it one of the nastiest in Britain, a point which was underlined after just three minutes when Aberdeen's Mike Newell was rightly booked for a dreadful tackle on Neil McCann.

But nine minutes later Rangers had taken the venom out of Pittodrie and silenced the home crowd by racing into a two-goal lead. When Sergio Porrini headed the opening goal in the 10th minute it was a mystery how he could have stolen unnoticed to the back post to meet Giovanni van Bronckhorst's free-kick. Aberdeen's defenders thought the same, with Derek Whyte, Gary Smith and Mark Perry furiously arguing with each other.

Aberdeen were clearly rattled and, just 90 seconds later, McCann raced clear on the left before squaring the ball for Rod Wallace to strike his 20th goal of the season.

The question marks, which hung like a cloud over Aberdeen, took a long while to lift. Bit by bit, they tried to provide answers with their German debutant, Andreas Mayer, bringing a wonderful save out of Stefan Klos, and Eoin Jess's free-kick curling wide, but then Newell restored some hope.

The former Blackburn striker was perfectly placed to finish off Robbie Winter's 35th-minute cross.

Jess had Pittodrie on its feet with a wonderful 51st-minute equaliser, thrashing the substitute Andy Dow's short free-kick high into the net, then Scott Wilson was sent off for a second bookable offence to reduce Rangers to 10 men.