Aberdeen can turn 'Black Hell' into red heaven as Dante Polvara wants to keep his Euro specialist reputation
Aberdeen travel to Greece needing the win they nearly got at Pittodrie to keep their Euro hopes alive.by Scott Burns, https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/authors/scott-burns/ · Daily Record
Aberdeen will walk out into a black hell on Thursday but Dante Polvara reckons they can turn it into a red heaven and claim their first European win of the season.
The Dons prepare to take on 100 percent Group G leaders PAOK, who are looking to book their place in the knockout stages by dismantling the Dons at their Toumba Stadium. Barry Robson’s side will walk out into one of the most hostile stadiums in Greek football but Polvara reckons that red-hot atmosphere can bring out the best in their team.
Polvara said: “This will probably be different to anything I have played in before. The boys are looking forward to it. I’m sure it will be exciting and loud, but that’s what you play football for. You want to be involved in these kinds of nights. The atmospheres in Scotland can be quite toxic at times too, although I think this will be different. As players we want to be part of it and we’re looking forward to it.
Aberdeen also gave PAOK something of a scare after they went 2-0 up at Pittodrie before they eventually lost out 3-2. That gives the Dons the confidence they can cause the Greeks major issues. “It is good for our confidence knowing that we can score goals against this team,” the midfielder insisted.
“We know how dangerous they are as well. We have separated bits and pieces from the last game and playing away from home Playing away from home we will probably change slightly on how the game goes. We are looking forward to the game and pushing for a win.”
PAOK coach Razvan Lucescu was critical of Aberdeen defender Nicky Devlin for blowing kisses at his bench after the Dons had netted their second. Polvara doesn’t think it will add anything extra to this evening’s showdown with the points the priority for both sides.
“It’s not something that was discussed much in our changing room,” the American claimed. “Even in the moment, it was just two passionate clubs, teams and supporters. So when there’s a lot on the line I wouldn’t expect it to be any different.
“I just saw it as boys being boys, having a go at each other and enjoying the moment. One minute you’re winning and the next you’re losing, so the emotions are going to come out. I don’t think it’s anything personal. I don’t expect us to approach the game any differently and the other boys are like that too.”
Polvara has been something of a European specialist for Aberdeen this season. He scored a big goal in the defeat away to Eintracht Frankfurt and also netted in the last game against PAOK. He would love to keep that run going. “I would like to score in every game if possible,” he insisted.
“Scoring my first goal at Pittodrie was great. I will be doing my best to put one in the net on Thursday. It is a slightly different style of football as we are playing against teams from other parts of the world.
“They play a style where they have a lot of possession so we have to be more precise when countering and with what you do with the ball. You also need fortune to fall your way.”
Progression to the next round will take something of a minor miracle but Polvara is adamant they will give it their all. He believes Aberdeen’s performances have been good but they haven’t grabbed the points they deserved.
He stated: “Do we believe we can do it? Yes, this team is tight together and while it’s mathematically still possible we know we can still upset teams.
“We will just take it one game at a time. With this team we are quite tight together and as long as it is mathematically still possible (qualifying) we know we can upset teams and we have to take it one game at a time.
“We have been unlucky not to have more points on the board at this stage after the first three games. We have had a tough schedule domestically and have managed to deliver some upsets and surprising performances this season. We have a lot of quality in the changing room and I hope that shows on Thursday.”
Aberdeen go into the game on a high after they booked their place in the Viaplay Cup final with their Hampden win over Hibs. Polvara set up Bojan Miovski for the winner and was seen crossing himself as he sent the goal hero through on goal. He is hoping Aberdeen won’t need divine intervention in Thessaloniki.
Polvara joked: “I honestly didn’t even realise until after the game and someone pointed it out to me! I’m not really a superstitious person but all through my youth career when someone was through on goal I did that.
“Obviously there were no cameras there to catch it in my youth games, but it was picked up this time. I thought it was quite funny. It’s just me giving good luck and sending strength to whoever it is in that moment. I’m glad it worked and Bojan was able to put the ball in the net!”
Aberdeen boss Barry Robson has a couple of players with knocks, including Bojan Miovski, but will wait until the last minute before he names his team.
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