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Man United, Ajax Reach Europa Final After Dramatic Ties Vs Celta, Lyon

Man United, Ajax Reach Europa Final After Dramatic Ties Vs Celta, Lyon

Manchester United will face Ajax Amsterdam in the final of the UEFA Europa League at the Friends Arena in Stockholm on Wednesday, 24 May after both teams defeated their opponents over two legs in the semi-finals.

The Red Devils played a 1-1 draw at home to Celta Vigo in their second semi-final to advance 2-1 on aggregate while 10-man Ajax Amsterdam qualified 5-4 on aggregate despite losing 3-1 in the second leg at the Stade des Lumieres.

At Old Trafford, Facundo Roncaglia’s late header cancelled out Marouane Fellaini’ s opener in the 17th minute. The result was enough to send Jose Mourinho’s side through to the final for the first time in the club’s history.

Celta Vigo began the encounter brightly and could have scored in the third minute but Iago Aspas failed to make most of the opportunity after Daley Blind misplaced his pass. Two minutes later United were left off the hook again, this time Sergio Romero tipping over Aspas’ effort over the crossbar.

The Spanish side grew in confidence and were dominating play but against the run of play Fellaini powered home Marcus Rashford’s delightful cross in the 18th minute past Sergio Alvarez to make it 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate.

Henrik Mkhitaryan could have doubled the lead two minutes later but he hit Jesse Lingard cross over the bar for a goal kick.

In the 36th minute, Daniel Wass had a chance to restore parity for Celta Vigo but he headed Pione Sisto’s fierce cross wide.

At the start of the second half, Celta again failed to make their efforts count as Hugo Mallo wriggled past two Manchester United defenders before flashing a low cross towards Sisto, but Romero did brilliantly to make the save.

Mallo again created space for Sisto who found John Guidetti inside the Manchester United box, but the former Manchester City striker’s effort went wide of the post.

Alvarez was also called into action by Fellaini, Mkhitaryan and Rashford as the game wore on.

In the closing stages of the encounter Eric Bailly and Facundo Roncaglia were both sent off before Guidetti missed a great chance to win it for Celta Vigo.

In France, Alexandre Lacazette’s brace was not enough as Olympique Lyon failed to qualify for the finals despite defeating Ajax 2-1.

Kasper Dolberg scored a 27th minute opener but the French International scored two quick goals in the stoppage time of the first half to hand his side a lifeline at the break.

Rachid Ghezzal’s header in the 81st minute made it 3-1 on the night for Lyon and 5-4 on aggregate but the former French champions could not get a fourth to send the tie into extra time as Ajax were resolute in the second half to qualify for the final for the first time in 21 years.

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