New-boy Chidi Nwakali was in the thick of battle on his debut as Aberdeen lost a tasty encounter to Lokomotiv Tashkent.
The Nigerian ace showed his appetite and aggression as well as good ability during his hour-cameo in defeat at the hands of the back-to-back Uzbekistan champions.
Nwakali was in the midst of angry exchanges where players squared up in the centre circle and also collected his team’s only booking for a scything tackle on rival playmaker Sanjar Shaakhmedov.
It was competitive alright, but Derek McInnes wanted his team to get a workout and that’s what they got in a contest which was played out in four sections to make up the 90 minutes at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence in Dubai.
Defeat was unwanted, but not meaningful and not looking likely either after an opening full of zest.
Naturally, Nwakali, on loan from Manchester City, took the attention of the Dons fans in the ground, but it was the attacking players who really caught the eye.
Ryan Christie, lively playing off the front, hit a post after Greg Stewart had a drive blocked, while Kenny McLean had the ball in the net only for the effort to be ruled offside.
Christie also forced a flying save from keeper Ignatiy Nesterov and the Uzbek No.1 tipped over a Stewart header, yet, bizarrely having been in control, the Reds suddenly fell 2-0 down to a quickfire double.
McInnes’ men lost an opener from a corner-kick when Islom Tukhtakhujaev netted and Sherzodbek Karimov slammed home a…