Ajax 0 Manchester United 2 Europa League Final | Touch Latest Local,World,Tech,Entertainment,Health,Sport News
20 April 2018 00:00:00 AM Breaking News

• SPORT

Ajax 0 Manchester United 2 Europa League Final

UEFA Europa League final | 24 May 2017 | Friends Arena | Attendance: 46,961 | Scorers: Pogba 18, Mkhitaryan 48

Manchester United claimed a third trophy of the season and a first ever UEFA Europa League triumph thanks to goals in either half from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and while this victory marked a superb end to a long campaign, for many reasons it meant so much more.

Yes, it completes United’s set of all-time silverware; yes, it puts the Reds back in the Champions League next season, but most importantly this was a success dedicated to the people of Manchester following the most tragic of events in the city 48 hours earlier.

The opening strike was a particularly poignant moment for Pogba too. The Frenchman, arguably the Reds’ best player in the opening half, lost his dad just over a week ago and he pointed to the heavens after seeing his deflected effort sail in. The second was a historic one for the club as Mkhitaryan netted his fifth European goal away from Old Trafford - the biggest such tally from one United player in a single season.

The build-up to the game had, of course, been dominated by Monday’s terrible tragedy in Manchester which was uppermost in everyone’s minds throughout the stay in Stockholm. A minute's silence which turned into applause for our great city and then shouts of ‘Manchester la la la’ preceded kick-off with the United players donning black armbands in tribute to the victims.

On the pitch, Mourinho stayed true to his word about playing Sergio Romero in goal and his big decision in defence, over who would replace the suspended Eric Bailly, resulted in Chris Smalling getting the nod ahead of Phil Jones. In attack, Juan Mata was preferred ahead of Jesse Lingard, who was named on the bench and the man whose goal ultimately sent United into the final, Marouane Fellaini, took up a more advanced role in the no.10 spot behind Marcus Rashford.

United pressed from the off with Paul Pogba taking aim on 27 seconds after Andre Onana had made a hash of what looked like an easy take, but the ball dropped wide. Pogba was involved again on 10 minutes when his neat flick found Mata who volleyed a driven cross into the box, but Fellaini couldn’t connect.

Ajax had had little of the ball up to that point, but Romero had to be alert to a sharp shot from Bertrand Traore in the box.

United’s early dominance got its just reward on 18 minutes when Mata knocked a ball inside from the right to Fellaini. He in turn found Pogba who netted his second goal in as many games as his left-foot shot took a huge deflection off Davinson Sanchez and looped in past the helpless Onana.

Six minutes later Valencia powered down the right wing and struck a fierce drive but the Ajax shot-stopper stood tall and beat it away.

HALF-TIME STATS
Possession
: Ajax 65% United 35%
Shots: Ajax 6 United 4
Shots on target: Ajax 1 United 2
Corners: Ajax 2 United 0

Ajax might have ended the first period on top, but it was Mourinho's men who started the second half in the best possible way as Mkhitaryan made history. A Mata corner was headed down by Smalling and the Armenian attacker brilliantly hooked the ball home to put United very much in the driving seat.

The Reds continued to press and look for a third and on 65 minutes the outstanding Fellaini rose to meet a cross from Pogba, but could only put the ball straight at Onana.

Ajax were left with little choice but to go for it but United held firm with the whole back four exceptional in their defensive duties.

Lingard had a chance to make it 3-0 on 87 minutes, and to add to his personal collection of cup final goals, when fellow substitute Anthony Martial put him through, but he just lost his footing at the vital moment.

It mattered little though as the Reds claimed a famous win as ‘Manchester, Manchester, Manchester’ echoed around the stadium, and you felt it could be heard all the way back to our inspirational city.

Teams

Ajax: Onana; Veltman, Sanchez, de Ligt, Riedewald (de Jong 81); Schone (van der Beek 70), Klaassen (c), Ziyech; Dolberg (Neres 62), Traore, Younes.

Subs not used: Boer, Tete, Westermann, Kluivert.

Booked: Veltman, Younes, Riedewald.

United: Romero; Valencia (c), Smalling, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Fellaini; Mkhitaryan (Lingard 74), Pogba, Mata (Rooney 90); Rashford (Martial 84).

Subs not used: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah, Jones, Carrick.

Booked: Mkhitaryan, Fellaini, Mata.

Recommended

Loading...

Related Posts

2016/2017 Champions League Draw: Real Madrid face Atletico, while Juventus take on Monaco

Football fans will be treated to a  Madrid derby in the UEFA Champions Le

Read More

City will be stronger next season vows Guardiola

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola suffers defeat after the

Read More

Jose Mourinho 'very happy' with Man Utd players after 1-1 draw with Swansea

ose Mourinho bemoaned his growing injury list, but insisted he was "very happy"

Read More

Paul Merson's predictions: Liverpool and Manchester United in Super Sunday action

Paul Merson's predictions: Liverpool and Manchester United in Super Sunday actio

Read More

I’m 60% certain of joining Man United – Griezmann

French international striker Antoine Griezmann has revealed he has a six out of

Read More

Dendoncker goal denies Man United victory in Anderlecht

Manchester United scored an important away goal but were held to a disappointing

Read More

El Clasico: Messi mesmerizes Madrid at Barnebeu

Messi got two goals as Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 3-2 at the Santiago Barneb

Read More

Manchester United 3-0 Basel: Fellaini, Lukaku and Rashford guide Mourinho's men to victory

Manchester United 3-0 BaselManchester United secured three points in comfor

Read More

Where to watch the UEFA Champions League final

Fans have no need to miss a single minute of the action in the 2016/17 UEFA Ch

Read More

Also Read

Donald Trump’s Companies Benefit From Campaign Funds

Close to $500,000 is directed to Trump-owned hotels, golf clubs and restaurants

Read More

Dammy Krane arrested for armed robbery in the US

Trouble looms for the singer as he risks 30 years in jail if convicted.

Read More

5 things to know on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Here are five need-to-know stories from Canada and around the

Read More

How the Canadian Government Tried to “Remove the Indian From the Child”

Residential school survivor Lorna Standingready is comforted by a fellow survivo

Read More

Italian broadcaster Rai apologises to Medhi Benatia for racist incident

Italian broadcaster Rai has apologised after Juventus defender Medhi Benatia cut

Read More

Blame me for Chelsea loss-Conte

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said he took responsibility for failing to motivate h

Read More

Alexis Sanchez & Mesut Ozil Selling Arsenal players right Martin Keown

Arsenal signed Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for £35m, while Mesut Ozil cost

Read More

Bayelsa govt inaugurates land allocation committee

The Bayelsa state Governor, Seriake Dickson has inaugurated a Land Allocation Co

Read More

Luis Enrique hopes for miraculous swoop on La Liga title

Barcelona play host to Eibar on Sunday (May 21) and La Liga leaders Real Madrid

Read More

ResumeOrResign: Nollywood actor Jim Iyke joins protesters, says Nigeria now the joke of Africa

Nollywood actor, Jim Iyke, has lamented the current state of the nation and also

Read More