A huge occasion for Aberdeen deserved a big backing – and it’s a shame the Dons haven’t been allowed to bring one to Portugal says Joe Lewis.
The Pittodrie club are in Portugal for a massive third round qualifier in the Europa League, a place in the play-off round awaiting them if they are successful. A very difficult test awaits them though, facing Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.
Derek McInnes’ men will be underdogs but the playing field has been levelled a bit. Nine of the Lisbon first team will have to miss this match due to COVID-19 protocols, and with a disrupted pre-season, they go into this well behind Aberdeen in terms of fitness.
It presents a potential opportunity to cause a shock in the Lisbon heat. After six wins on the spin, they were brought back down to earth against Motherwell at the weekend. Aberdeen lost 3-0 to three first half goals from the Steelmen at Pittodrie.
That has to be put behind them now as they look to cause a shock. Given how big the occasion is, Lewis says it’s a real shame fans aren’t there to witness it.
“As soon as the draw meant that this game was a possibility for us, you really do sit up and take notice because they’ve got a great history, they’re known around the world,” said Lewis (Aberdeen FC).
“Given that the game is also in their stadium, which has hosted some massive games over the years, it really makes it something that you want to be a part of. It’s sad that the game is behind closed doors because it would have been an incredible atmosphere and our fans would have played their full part in that.
“It would have been a great occasion but maybe having no crowd levels things up a bit from our perspective as the away side. It’ll be their first competitive game this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how sharp they are. It means we haven’t had a chance to have a look at them in proper action, but I’m sure they will be absolutely ready for it.
“They are going to offer a huge challenge, we know that. If we could come through and win the game, it would be one of the biggest achievements in my career and I think that would apply to a lot of the boys.
“We know that everybody needs to be right on their game, we all need to perform well. In the big games that we have won in the past, everyone was eight or nine out of ten for their performance. It will need to be the same story if we’re going out come out on top.”