Aberdeen 2-1 Breidablik (5-3 agg): Hedges brace fires Dons into Europa Conference League play-off

Last update on.Ryan Hedges (right) won Aberdeen a 5-3 aggregate victory to send them into round two of the Europa Conference League.Aberdeen are just one tie away playing European group stage football for the first-time in 14 years. A Ryan Hedges brace secured a 5-3 aggregate victory over Breidablik.The 15,000 strong Pittodrie crowd was in raptures when the Welshman turned the opener into an empty net.Gisli Eyjolfsson’s curling efforts reduced the lead, but Hedges shot a fine second to secure victory.Aberdeen will take on Qarabag in order to be included in the Europa Conference League groups.While the Dons were content to give up the majority of possession early on, the Icelandic visitors looked tidy in their possession and threatened down right without creating an opening.Stephen Glass's side proved to be a threat as Hedges grabbed a ball high up, but failed find Christian Ramirez in midfield.Breidablik seemed to be targeting the left side of the home team, but Jack MacKenzie, a young left-wing back, defended his position impecccably all through.Although the visitors were rarely in danger during the first half, Aberdeen almost got punished for giving them too much time. Breidablik cut through and Aberdeen failed to make the final touch when pressure was on.Aberdeen was able to get on top of things. The first was a Hedges chance, orchestrated by Scott Brown. MacKenzie then drilled a shot across goal to stung Anton Einarsson's palms.Ramirez was then able to finish the job in the arms of his keeper.After two changes by Glass, Funso Ojo (and Connor McLennan) replaced Dylan McGeouch (and Declan Gallagher) in the second period, the hosts began the second period in a scintillating manner.Belgian Ojo got involved immediately as he danced his line in the 47th minutes and placed the ball on a plate for Hedges.Breidablik didn't give up, and the ball made its way to Eyjolfsson. He curled a beautiful 59th-minute finish in the top-left corner of the box.Glass' side did not stop there, as Hedges shot directly at the goalkeeper before Joe Lewis was called to action to stop Svanthorsson at the other end. It was heart-in-mouth stuff.The cushion with two goals was restored just moments later. Ramirez was unable to control Ojo's ball above the goal, but Hedges held on to it and curl in a spectacular second.Glass' men resisted pressure late on, but could have been further ahead. As they are now just one tie away from lucrative group stage European football, the Dons boss won't care.Scott Brown is the man of the matchAlthough it seems unfair to not award Hedges the match-winner prize, Dons captain Brown has rolled back the decades in a spectacular showing and already looks like an amazing piece of business.What have we learned?Aberdeen's attacking skills were evident in the first stages of this season. However, questions have been raised about Aberdeen's defensive resilience.Glass' backline had large periods without the ball, and had to withstand pressure at crucial points.Glass' appointment was met with doubts, but he quickly proved that he could produce a side that fans can be proud of and excited about.They face a tough match against Qarabag, but if he can overcome it, he will surpass all expectations.They said what?Stephen Glass, Aberdeen manager: "We knew it was going to be hard. Half-time was a crucial time for us to change our shape and we were able to overcome it."The team was able to move up the pitch because of the change in shape. Funso [Ojo] energy was high, Connor [McLennan] also did a great job."Joe [Lewis] made one save, but other than that, we were in control." We would have been out of sight if we had taken half the chances that we created.What's next?Aberdeen will be competing in the League Cup as they visit Raith Rovers, second-tier Raith Rovers, on Sunday (12:02 BST).