Failing to deliver in the English premiere league, without securing a place in the top four, Manchester United were hoping to end their season on a high as they took on Ajax FC in the Europa League Final at the ‘Friends Arena’ in Stockholm yesterday. The English club won the game 2-0 to lift a European title since they last did in Moscow after beating Chelsea in 2008.
Loosing on the night would have ensured a trophy-less campaign for Ajax, but a victory would ensure Manchester United a spot in Champions league next season. Winners of the Europa League are eligible to play in champions league, regardless of finishing among the top four in the league. Ajax had already qualified for next season as they finished second in the league behind Feyeneoord Fc.
An Early Lead
Jose Mourinoh’s men started the game brightly. They were leading in less than 20 minutes from the kick off. A shot on target from Paul Pogba found the back of the net, courtesy of a wicked deflection.
Ajax started seeing more of the ball after United’s lead, stretching United’s defense, but were unable to find the equalizer before half- time. Ajax were having 66% of possession to United’s 34%. Their ace man Traore was unable to get them back in to the game.
Pre- match predictions were not in Ajax’s favor. Regardless of their brilliant playing style there was a lack of experience in the team. The average age of the team on the night was 22. Now that, is a very young squad to play in a Final against an experienced team and a world class manager.
Second half started with Ajax hoping to turn it around, but soon Manchester were 2-0 up. The Armenian, Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored with an improvised finish latching on to the loose ball in the box. This was a dagger blow for the Dutch side.
Ajax again dominated possession in the second half, but with no real penetration. Manchester United were happy to sit back and break on the counter. The back four of United were brave and decisive all game. They marked spaces as the threatening Ajax forward, Dolberg was a passive striker until substituted after 70 minutes.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 25, 2017
Ajax failed to really test their opponent’s goalkeeper with only a couple of shots on target. The youngsters were brilliant on and off the ball, there passing was fast and integrate, they defended decently, perhaps didn’t had the experience for the big stage.
UEFA Europa League Final 2017
Jose Mourinoh has proven himself in the past and had set up a perfect game plan for the final. This also means he has won a big trophy in his first season at the club. The win was massive as it allows United to play in champions league despite finishing sixth in the league.
Manchester United will take on the Champions league winner either Juventus or Real Madrid for the UEFA Super Cup at the start of next season. The champions league final will be played on Saturday, 3 rd June, 2017.
Hard to believe, but the Europa League win was Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first ever European trophy! pic.twitter.com/8vPSRIXPQc
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) May 25, 2017
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unable to play due to an injury in the first leg of semi finals. He was there in his homeland Sweden, to celebrate his first European honor.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 24, 2017