Luis Lopes stars as Aberdeen move up to fourth with win over Hearts

Vicente Besuijen was also on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win at Pittodrie.

Luis Lopes stars as Aberdeen move up to fourth with win over Hearts SNS Group

Luis Lopes was the star attraction as Aberdeen beat Hearts 2-0 to move up to fourth in the cinch Premiership.

The Cape Verde striker put the Dons ahead in the 74th minute and then set up his side’s second goal for Vicente Besuijen five minutes later to seal the win.

Aberdeen lined up in a revamped 3-5-2 formation after their defeat to Dundee United last week, with Lopes partnering top-scorer Bojan Miovski in attack.

Hearts showed four changes from their midweek loss in Florence, and were forced to take off Andy Halliday after just 10 minutes, Lewis Neilson coming off the bench to replace him.

The home side had the first real sight of goal just before the half-hour mark when Leighton Clarkson played in Miovski on the edge of the area, but after creating space for himself, he shot disappointingly wide.

Hearts should have been in front a minute later when Stephen Humphrys pulled back for Alex Cochrane, but the defender completely miscued allowing Kelle Roos to save when it seemed a goal was inevitable.

Cochrane turned creator two minutes later when his cut back from the left found Lawrence Shankland, but the former Aberdeen man could only find the side-netting.

Hearts’ good spell continued as Robert Snodgrass saw a low shot from distance held by Roos, but Aberdeen should have been in front in first-half injury time.

Toby Sibbick’s error presented the ball to Miovski and he slipped in Lopes, who homed in on goal before being denied by the advancing Craig Gordon.

There was still time before the interval for Shankland to attempt to lob Roos, but the goalkeeper got a touch to turn the effort onto the crossbar.

The second half started in similar fashion, as Roos had to be quick off his line to deny Humphrys as the striker pounced on a poor pass back from Dons captain Anthony Stewart.

Aberdeen quickly responded with Lopes’ angled shot forcing a save from Gordon, before Miovski passed up the best chance yet just before the hour, turning Ross McCrorie’s driven cross wide of goal on the slide.

Chances were flowing at either end now, and Shankland threatened again on the hour, somehow turning Cochrane’s ball in from the left past the post.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 74th minute as Lopes was slipped in by Ylber Ramadani in the left channel, and set himself before angling a low drive beyond Gordon.

And the former Benfica player turned provider five minutes later, playing a neat pass to Besuijen who took a touch before firing past Gordon.

There was a further blow for the visitors as substitute Peter Haring suffered a head knock leading to a lengthy stoppage before he was replaced by Jorge Grant.