Man United secured Champions League football next season and a second major trophy of the season, as they beat Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm.
It was an emotional night following the attack in Manchester which killed 22 people at Arianda Grande’s concert at the Manchester Aren on Monday. It gave the fans some comfort following that devastation, with United winning in comfort.
On an emotional night following the attack which killed 22 people at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday, United’s fans were allowed a measure of celebration as Jose Mourinho’s side won in comfort.
Ajax started fairly brightly, with Bertrand Traore, on loan from Chelsea, forcing Sergio Romero into a save. Ajax had 69% of possession on the night, but could not use it to good use, as they didn’t give United a tough test.
In the 18th minute, United took the lead through Paul Pogba. After being a allowed a little too much space by Ajax captain Davy Klassen, he fired into the back of the net via a huge deflection off Davinson Sanchez.
Pogba’s had a lot of stick this season, but he scored a goal which put United on their way in this match. He’s struggled to justify his £89million price tag but, in this game he showed flashes of quality which caused Jose Mourinho to make him a high-priority signing.
Although United had less possession, they used it to good use. Antonio Valencia, captain for the night with Wayne Rooney on the bench, tested the keeper with an effort after bursting forward.
In the second half, in the 48th minute, United doubled their lead through Henrick Mkhitaryan. A corner was crossed in towards Chris Smalling, who headed it down and Mkhitaryan, who flicked it in. This goal gave United some breathing space. It was his sixth Europa League goal of the campaign. He struggled in the first half, but showed what a priceless poacher’s instinct he has.
Marouane Fellaini, who for once played well in the midfield, nearly added another goal but, his header was straight at Obama in the Ajax goal. Jesse Lingard also nearly scored but, Sanchez, who was excellent recovered to thwart him, with Lingard bearing down on goal.
Rooney came on with a few minutes to go in what could be his last game for United. He was handed the captain’s armband by Valencia in possibly his farewell appearance. He has been an incredible servant to the club and will be remembered as a legend.
This victory gives them automatic qualification into the Champions League. It also adds to EFL Cuo won against Southampton earlier this season. It means Mourinho can look at this season as a success. It was all regarding one match, as the season would’ve been seen as a failure with a loss.
Mourinho ran onto the field to celebrate with his players, thrown in the air by his coaches and hugged by his son. He’s had his frustrating times this season, especially with 15 Premier League draws which led to an unsatisfactory sixth-place finish.
United have now won every trophy that they could possibly win. They are also the fifth team to claim the full quota of European trophies, joining an illustrious list with Ajax, Chelsea, Juventus and Bayern Munich.
There is still a lot to do before this team is the finished article, but for now they can enjoy Champions League qualification next year and a victory which lefties the spirits of Manchester. And at the final whistle, there were chants of “Manchester” around the Friends Arena in tribute to those who died and were injured in the attack which cast a shadoq over this showpiece occasion.
And as the final whistle sounded and United’s celebrations began, chants of “Manchester” rang around the Friends Arena in tribute to those who died and were injured in the attack which cast a shadow over this showpiece occasion.
United’s season has now finished after 64 games in a manic season. Their season can be regarded as success but, there will be much more expected for next season.