Kenny McLean netted a late winner as Aberdeen came from behind to defend the Energy Cities Community Cup with a 2-1 victory against Viking FK at Pittodrie last night.
The skillful Zymer Bytyqi gave Viking the lead only three minutes into the match with a fine finish following a swift Viking counter-attack from an Aberdeen corner.
The Norwegians enjoyed the better of the chances during an impressive first half performance but were unable to enhance their lead before the break.
Aberdeen looked much stronger after the restart thanks to the injection of more first team regulars and drew level through Scott Wright just after the hour mark.
McLean headed home the winning goal five minutes from time after Viking goalkeeper Arild Ostbo failed to deal with a Hayes corner.
A crowd of 4,396 attended the match – which was sponsored by the Press and Journal and Energy Voice – with entry free of charge.
This was the third time the Energy Cities Community Cup had been contested by Aberdeen and Viking FK with the Dons winning on both previous occasions.
Adam Rooney, Niall McGinn, Danny Ward, Josh Parker and Ryan McLaughlin missed the game after being on international duty with their respective countries with Derek McInnes giving his fringe players a chance to impress.
Scott Brown started in goal in front of a back four of Shaleum Logan, Andrew Considine, Paul Quinn and Michael Rose, while 17-year-old Frank Ross was given a starting berth in midfield.
Peter Pawlett, who is yet to feature in the league campaign because of an ankle injury, was also named in the team, while Graeme Shinnie, Ash Taylor, Jonny Hayes and captain Ryan Jack were among those named on the bench.
Kieffer Moore, a six-foot five Englishman, and Nigerian Suleiman Abdullahi led the line for the visitors, who are sitting third in the Norwegian top flight.
Some of the Aberdeen supporters taking advantage of the free entry for the match were still finding their seats when Viking took the lead with only three minutes on the clock.
The Norwegians broke quickly from a Barry Robson corner with Suleiman Abdullahi outmuscling Logan before laying the ball into the path of Bytyqi who calmly rolled the ball past the advancing Brown.
The Dons pushed for an immediate equaliser but a speculative long-range effort from Barry Robson was blocked before a teasing Considine cross found no takers.
Viking almost doubled their advantage after 21 minutes when goascorer Bytyqi crossed for the unmarked Abdullahi, whose header was clawed away by Brown, despite strong appeals from the visitors that the ball had crossed the line.
Viking were playing the better football but the Dons looked capable of causing problems with captain for the night Willo Flood drawing a smart save from Iven Austbo.
But it was the visitors who finished the halof on top with a Moore header kept out by Brown before the lively Samuel Adegbenro skipped past Logan with a neat piece of skill before curling inches wide.
Both teams made four changes at the break with the Dons substituting Logan, Considine, Goodwillie and Ross with Shinnie, Taylor, McLean and Scott Wright all entering the fray.
The Dons almost drew level four minutes into the half when the newly introduced Viking goalkeeper Arild Ostbo displayed excellent reflexes to keep out a close-range effort from McLean.
Viking, inspired by the excellent Adegbenro, were next to threaten with the Nigerian slaloming his way through the Dons defence before setting up substitute Steinthor Thorsteinsso whose effort was too close to Brown.
McLean, who was deployed as a centre forward, went close soon after with a header that drifted wide before Peter Pawlett went even closer with a fizzing drive.
But the Dons eventually got the equaliser their play deserved after 62 minutes when Wright stabbed home a McLean cutback.
The 18-year-old midfielder could have netted a second moments later when a Hayes corner was cleared into his path but he dragged his effort horribly wide.
Joe Nuttall, a summer acquisition from Manchester City, had a chance to score only seconds after replacing the tiring Pawlett but his effort from a Hayes cross slid agonisingly by the post.
But Aberdeen grabbed the winner five minutes from time when a Hayes corner hit the cross bar before falling kindly for McLean to head home.