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Van Veen helps Motherwell reach Scottish Cup quarter-finals

Van Veen hit his fourth goal of the season against Aberdeen to help earn Motherwell a 2-1 victory.

Van Veen helps Motherwell reach Scottish Cup quarter-finals SNS Group

Kevin Van Veen continued to torment Aberdeen as Motherwell came from behind to reach the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.

Christian Ramirez headed the visitors into a third-minute lead at Fir Park but two goals late in the first half turned the game around.

Van Veen hit his fourth goal of the season against Aberdeen to level and Connor Shields netted from close range to earn Motherwell a 2-1 victory.

A rainstorm broke out just before kick-off to accompany the high winds and Motherwell made the rare move of swapping ends after the coin toss to shoot towards their own fans in the first half.

However, the wind appeared to play a role in the opener as Vicente Besuijen’s cross held up at the far post, with Liam Kelly rooted to his line and Ramirez heading home unchallenged from three yards.

Ramirez could have doubled the lead soon after when he got the better of Juhani Ojala from a long ball but lobbed inches wide with Kelly beaten.

Motherwell struggled to get any rhythm to their attacking play and wasted some set-pieces with the heavy pitch also affecting matters, although Shields headed not far wide following a corner.

Van Veen changed the game in the 34th minute after a brilliant piece of skill. The striker turned his man just inside the box and curled a shot which hit an Aberdeen head and flew into the far corner.

The Dutchman celebrated by squaring up to former Well skipper Declan Gallagher – he duly received a yellow card.

Aberdeen soon suffered another blow when Ross McCrorie went off limping heavily although the Dons had a ready-made replacement right-back in Calvin Ramsay.

The weather was now sunny and still and the game had also turned completely on its head with Motherwell doing all the attacking.

Sean Goss fired into the side net and Liam Donnelly slid in to knock the ball wide from three yards as the hosts pressed.

The pressure paid off in the third minute of stoppage time after Dons goalkeeper Gary Woods flapped at Goss’ inswinging corner with Scott Brown right in front of him. Bevis Mugabi poked the ball towards goal and Shields turned and knocked it in from close range.

The tie was finely balanced throughout the second half. For Aberdeen, Besuijen failed to make the most of a couple of early chances and Ramirez fired wide from a decent opportunity.

Motherwell had a number of chances to increase their lead with the best falling for van Veen. The centre-forward was twice denied by Woods and curled wide with only the goalkeeper to beat after David Bates misjudged a long ball following the sudden return of the wind and rain.

Woods dropped a corner but Funso Ojo came to his rescue with a block and both Joe Efford and Mark O’Hara fired just over the Aberdeen bar from long range.

The Dons threw on more forwards and pushed hard for a late equaliser but Kelly sealed Motherwell’s third win over their opponents this season with a brilliant one-handed stop from Ramirez deep in stoppage time.