Sam Cosgrove bailed out Aberdeen with a second-half penalty to hand the Dons a 1-1 draw with Georgian side Chikhura Sachkhere in the Europa League second qualifying round.
A penalty from Giorgi Koripadze put Chikhura in front five minutes before half-time but Cosgrove netted his own spot-kick with 25 minutes ago to level at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tblisi.
Chikhura, sixth in their domestic league, had merited their lead but the away goal gives Aberdeen a slight advantage heading to Pittodrie next Thursday.
Ash Taylor’s first-half injury adds to Derek McInnes injury woes at the back, however, with Mikey Devlin already sidelined with a hamstring tear and Greg Leigh not fit to take part.
McInnes handed a debut to Funso Ojo, following his summer move from Scunthorpe United, while Craig Bryson was named on the bench.
Cosgrove, who had two goals already in the competition, was first to test Chikhura goalkeeper Dino Hamzic, turning Shay Logan’s cross to the Bosnian stopper.
Taylor had been brought into the side to replace the injured Devlin but it took only 17 minutes for the returning centre-back to limp off himself.
Taylor injured himself making a rash challenge on Irakli Lekvtadze and with no recognised defenders on the bench, Bryson was brought on amid a Dons reshuffle. Jon Gallagher went to right-back, Shay Logan came over to the left and Andy Considine moved alongside Scott McKenna at centre-half.
After a first half that was short on chances, referee Horatiu Fesnic pointed to the spot after Ojo – lucky to still be on after a high challenge on Davit Maisashvili – brought down Lekvtadze in the box. Dons skipper Joe Lewis got close to Koripadze’s spot-kick but was unable to keep it out, putting the Georgians in front.
Ryan Hedges was moved to left-back for the second half, with Gallagher returning to his midfield role, and the Welshman’s first foray forward produced a promising ball into the box that Oleg Mamasakhlisi did well to cut out.
However, the Dons needed to remain on guard and avoid losing a disastrous second goal, with Mikheil Sardalishvili lashing over Lewis’ crossbar.
The Dons were handed a lifeline on 64 minutes when Fesnic awarded a penalty at the other end, punishing Maisashvili for handball. Cosgrove made the most of the decision, burying the equaliser from the spot.
Cosgrove’s goal killed the tempo of the game but the visitors still required Lewis to make a key save with five minutes to go, diverting teenager Mikheil Ergemlidze’s effort over the crossbar.
The draw means Chikhura have to score in the Granite City on August 1, with the winner advancing to play Rijeka in the third qualifying round.