Manchester United survived nervy last minutes scare to achieve their first Europa League final on Thursday night after a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo. Jose Mourinho’s team go through 2-1 on aggregate after their 1-0 away win in Spain.
While Ajax opposed Ligue 1 side Lyon’s 3-1 home win to set the total score at 5-4, they progressed to their first European final in 21 years in spite of a 3-1 defeat to Lyon in France, the Dutch side advancing 5-4 on aggregate.
Manchester United will play a youthful Ajax team in the final at Stockholm’s Friends Arena on May 24, maybe they can add to their trophy gathering and – maybe more significantly – book a place in next season’s Champions League.
Marouane Fellaini’s header put United 2-0 up on aggregate, but the visitors hit back late on through Facundo Roncaglia, who was then sent off alongside United’s Eric Bailly taking after a pushing challenge.
“We suffered until the end and it was open until the last possible time,” Mourinho revealed to BT Sport.
“After 14 matches we are in the final. if we win the Europa League I am more than happy. It would amazing.”
Mourinho will manage without Bailly, whose suspension leaves Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Daley Blind as United’s only accessible central defenders.
With Mourinho having freely deserted any desire for a top-four finish in the Premier League after his side fell four points off the Champions League spot, United’s season would have successfully been over had Celta Vigo thrown them out.
Rather they have an opportunity to add another trophy to the League Cup won in February and enable Mourinho to end a muddled battle by winning the fourth major European title.
Showing up in their first European semi-final, Eduardo Berizzo’s Celta gave United a few awkward minutes and there was real panic in United’s defense amid the stoppage minutes.