Aberdeen’s Europa League group stage dream ended as they couldn’t convert their chances and were punished at the back by BK Hacken.
The Dons crashed 3-1 in the Europa League play-off second leg at Pittodrie to miss out 5-3 on aggregate.
Aberdeen have the safety net of dropping into the UEFA Conference League group stages, with the draw made at 1.30pm (GMT) on Friday.
Dropping into Europe’s third tier competition will be scant consolation for the Dons after the agony of coming so close to the groups of Europe’s second tier tournament.
The Europa League groups is where the Dons wanted to be with potential glamour games against big hitters like Liverpool, Roma and Sporting CP (Lisbon).
That has gone now – obliterated by the Swedish champion’s clinical firepower. In particular winger Ibrahim Sadiq.
When the disappointment of this painful defeat evaporates the Dons will still have a platform to make an impact in Europe this season, albeit not at the level they wanted.
However, Aberdeen will have to sharpen up in attack and at the back for the six group games in Europe’s third tier competition.
Backed by a raucous Red Army at a sold-out Pittodrie, the Dons couldn’t maintain the momentum of the first leg in Gothenburg where they had netted two late goal to draw 2-2.
This was a lesson in the fine margins between European success and heartache.
Aberdeen created chances in a game where both teams were porous at the back.
BK Hacken, in particular Ibrahim Sadiq, had that killer touch. Aberdeen didn’t and it cost them.
Losing out on the Europa League groups will not deliver a major hammer blow to the Dons financially.
Qualification for the Europa League groups would have brought a payment of £3.15million with £550,000 for a group stage win and £180,000 for a draw.
The Dons will still pocket £2.55m for qualifying for the Conference League with £430,000 for a group stage win and £140,000 for a draw.
Coefficient ranking and broadcast payments are the same for both competitions.
Qualifying for the Europa League was not about the money – it was for the kudos and reputational enhancement for the club of being in the groups with the big hitters.
Sadiq nets opener for BK Hacken
Three recent signings were handed their first starts for Aberdeen – Richard Jenson, Jamie McGrath and Jimmy McGarry.
Aberdeen made their attacking intentions clear when a cross from McGarry was headed just wide by Miovski after just 70 seconds.
Moments later Graeme Shinnie’s vicious 15-yard drive was punched wide by Hacken keeper Peter Abrahamsson.
However it was Hacken who grabbed the lead in the 14th minute when Sadiq was given the time to tee up a shot.
He capitalised by drilling a left-footed rocket beyond the diving Kelle Roos.
In the 25th minute, Duk outmuscled Even Hovland to win possession before powering at goal, but keeper Abrahamsson raced out to block the striker’s 15-yard drive.
The Dons were denied by the woodwork in the 33rd minute when Miovski met a Leighton Clarkson cross, with the striker’s header heading into the top corner… but somehow keeper Abrahamsson tipped it onto the bar.
It was a pivotal save because within 60 seconds of potentially being level, the Reds were 2-0 down and staring into the Europa League abyss.
Another lethal finish from Sadiq
The Swedish champions doubled their advantage in the 41st minute when the excellent Samuel Gustafson released a perfectly weighted through-ball.
It sliced the Dons’ defence wide open and Sadiq raced on to the ball and clinically fired beyond Roos from 12 yards.
It was a sobering lesson for the Dons in counter-attacking, European football.
This is Sadiq’s final game for BK Hacken as he is set to complete a £3.5m move to Dutch club AZ Alkmaar on transfer deadline day.
What a way to bow out!
Aberdeen’s Europa League hopes should have been dead and buried in the 49th minute when Sadiq squared a ball across goal to Srdan Hrstic.
It was horrific defending that allowed Hrstic to be completely unmarked four yards out in front of an open goal. It was also a horrific miss, when somehow he blasted over the bar from close range. It was a let-off for the Dons.
Europa League lifeline as Aberdeen hit back
Battling Aberdeen were awarded a penalty following a VAR review in the 56th minute for a foul on Duk by Frankliin Tebo Uchenna.
Miovski converted the spot-kick to score for a fifth consecutive match.
Aberdeen should have levelled in the 63rd minute when a straight ball over the top from Jensen released Miovski in on goal.
The striker powered forward, but his left foot 15-yard drive flashed inches wide.
Sadiq was denied his hat-trick in the 75th minute when a superb curling effort beat Roos from 15 yards only to crack off the far post.
But Hacken were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute following a VAR review for a foul by Slobodan Rubezic on Sadiq.
Rubezic clearly took down the winger, but the referee missed it and booked Sadiq for diving.
However, after VAR told to ref to look again, a penalty was awarded. It was the right call.
And it was ruthlessly converted by Amor Layouni.
ABERDEEN (3-5-2): Roos 6, Devlin 6, Rubezic 6, Jensen 6, Morris 6 (Hayes 88), McGrath 7 (Sokler 78), Shinnie 7, Clarkson 6, McGarry 7 (Duncan 73), Miovski 7, Duk 6.
Subs not used: Doohan, MacKenzie, Barron, Williams, Polvara, MacDonald, Milne, Dadia, Bavidge.
BK HACKEN (4-3-3): Abrahamsson 7, Sandberg 7 (Totland 90+6), Tebo 7, Uchenna 6, Hovland 6, Fridiksson 6 (Laursen 61), Rygaard 6, Gustafson 8, Amane 7, Sadiq 8, Hrstic 6, Layouni 7.
Subs not used: Brattberg, Banozic, Ishaq, Kamara, Dahbo, Sana, Sonko, Dembe, Jansson, Brusberg.
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Germany).
Man-of-the-match: Ibrahim Sadiq (BK Hacken).