MATCH HIGHLIGHTS – UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE FINALS
AJAX AMSTERDAM VS MANCHESTER UNITED : Manchester United won the Europa League for the first time in their history in what was an emotional night at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, less than 48 after the terror attack in Manchester, thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Manchester United secured their third trophy for the season and a route back into the Champions League group stage for the next season.
A minute silence was observed before the match which was overshadowed by the Monday’s Terror attacks at the Manchester Arena, an attack claiming lives of 22 people. Players donned the black armbands in remembrance of the attack victims.
United started this match very much on the front foot, with nervous Ajax struggling to settled down into the game. United were first to come close to scoring when Juan Mata’s fizzing cross just evaded Marouane Fellaini in the tenth minute. Ajax then came close after Younes fed in ball to Traore from the left, but the shot was straight at Romero. Ajax gifted the goal on eighteenth minute after dreadful throw-in from Riedewald deep in their own half. United worked the ball across to Pogba, whose low left-footed effort took a huge deflection off Sanchez to wrong foot Onana in Goal. Antonio Valencia, captain for the night, then saw a powerful strike beaten away by Onana but United gradually began to sit deep as Ajax grew into the contest, although they struggled to create any meaningful openings before the break.
Three minutes into the second half and United did what they have failed to do all season long, that being not able to kill off games. Daley blind’s in swinging corner headed down into the ground by Chris Smalling was hooked in by Mkhitariyan from close range, delivering the sucker punch which eventually was too much for the young side from Ajax. Ajax dominated the ball after the hour mark but lacked the cutting edge to Fellaini in the sixty-fifth minute headed into the hands of goalkeeper and Lingard late in the half was clear on goal, but Sanchez shows brilliant pace to chase him down and make a crucial challenge.
A perfect case of the “Men against Boys”. A young Ajax side was undone by the tactical masterclass by Jose Mourinho’s tactical Masterclass. Not once in 90 minutes did Ajax threatened Romero’s goal, like they are going to score.