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Ajax 0-2 Manchester United

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Stockholm
Manchester United lift the Europa League trophy
Manchester United have now won all three of Europe's major competitions

Manchester United claimed their second major trophy of the season and secured Champions League football as they overcame Ajax to win the Europa League final in Stockholm.

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.

Paul Pogba's deflected shot put them ahead in the 18th minute and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's sixth Europa League goal of the campaign, flicked in from Chris Smalling's header at a corner, confirmed they would add to the EFL Cup won against Southampton earlier this season.

Wayne Rooney made a brief appearance as a substitute with a minute left and the game won, being handed the captain's armband by Antonio Valencia on what could well be his farewell appearance for United.

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.

Mourinho - who has so often looked so unhappy this season - ran on to the field to celebrate with his players and was thrown in the air by his coaching staff and hugged by his son.

It means United are now the fifth team to claim the full quota of European trophies, joining an illustrious list with Ajax, Chelsea, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Mourinho back in the old routine

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has now won four major European trophies

Mourinho has had his moments of frustration this season - especially with 15 Premier League draws that led to an unsatisfactory sixth-place finish.

It left United's Champions League hopes resting on this game but the win and subsequent qualification for the group stages of Europe's elite tournament means that Mourinho can regard this season as a real success.

Some may question the quality of United's performances and this undoubtedly remains a work in progress but two trophies and that place back in the Champions League is an impressive outcome, irrespective of the style in which it was achieved.

It was also a European final won without key defender Eric Bailly, who was suspended, and 28-goal leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who sustained a serious knee injury in the quarter-final win against Anderlecht at Old Trafford.

'This is for Manchester' - Man Utd fans on emotional triumph

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp have received much praise for their work this season and getting into next season's Champions League - Mourinho has done that and added the actual tangible reward of two pieces of silverware on top.

Mourinho's mood has often been dark this season but he still has that habit of dealing in his favourite currency, namely trophies.

And the result means United can, finally, regard their season as a successful one as a night which started with a mixture of silence then applause for those who died in Monday's attack and ended with Wayne Rooney lifting the Europa League trophy on what is very likely to be his final appearance for the club.

Pogba shows his class

Paul Pogba (bottom right) celebrates scoring the opening goal
Paul Pogba scored his ninth goal of the season

Pogba has struggled to justify the world-record transfer fee of £89m paid to Juventus last summer but this was a stage on which he showed flashes of the qualities that persuaded Mourinho to make him such a high-priority signing.

Like this United side, there is still much to do before he can be regarded as the finished article but the manner in which he made sure early midfield dominance was secured was impressive and he added a goal for good measure.

It may end up being classed as an own goal but Pogba will happily accept it, trying his luck from 20 yards after being afforded just a little too much space by Ajax captain Davy Klaassen and helped by a huge deflection off Davinson Sanchez. And perhaps he was due that touch of good fortune after being thwarted by the woodwork so often this season.

And it was another profitable night for another big-money Mourinho buy, Mkhitaryan. The Armenian struggled in the first half but showed what a priceless poacher's instinct he has, swooping from close range for another Europa League goal.

Ajax youngsters suffer stage fright

Ajax players
Ajax were appearing in their first European final since 1996

Ajax coach Peter Bosz said it would be understandable for his young side to feel nervous - and his fears were confirmed as they were never able to show off the full extent of their glittering promise.

Six of the starting line-up were 21 or under in the youngest 11 to start a major European final, with an average age of 22 years and 280 days. In defender Matthijs de Ligt, they had the youngest player to feature in one at 17 years and 285 days.

"It was a boring game. There were no chances from both sides," Bosz said after the final whistle.

"I'm disappointed because you play finals to win them. We didn't. I haven't seen the Ajax that I'm used to."

This was a night of disappointment for this great, historic old club but they are staying true to their finest traditions by producing outstanding young talent and showing a commitment to attacking football.

Ajax have established the foundations for more success.

"For all the players, this is the first final," he added.

"They will learn a lot from it and we will become stronger, and if we can keep this squad together we will be stronger next season, for sure."

Man of the match - Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Paul Pogba (centre) celebrates with team-mates
Paul Pogba rejoined Manchester United last summer for a world record fee of £89m

Mourinho maintains European final record - The stats you need to know

  • Paul Pogba scored in back-to-back games for United after a run of 19 games without one. It was the first time he had done so at club level since April 2016 for Juventus.
  • Five of Henrikh Mkhitaryan's last six United goals have come in the Europa League.
  • Jose Mourinho has won all four of his European finals as a manager, winning the 2003 Uefa Cup and 2004 Champions League with Porto, as well as the 2010 Champions League with Inter Milan.
  • Mourinho has maintained his 100% win record against Ajax, winning all seven matches against the Dutch side.
  • Late substitute Wayne Rooney made his fourth appearance in a major European final for Manchester United (also the 2008, 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals), equalling the record held by Ryan Giggs.
  • United did not lose a single game this season in which they scored first (W37 D8).
  • Marcus Rashford became the youngest Englishman - aged 19 years and 205 days - to start a major European final since Gary Mills in May 1980 for Nottingham Forest, who was aged 18 years and 198 days when he played against Hamburg.
The Manchester United players pose with a banner for those who lost their lives in the Manchester attack
The Manchester United players pose with a banner for those who lost their lives in the Manchester attack



Formation 4-3-3

  • 24Onana
  • 3VeltmanBooked at 58mins
  • 5D Sánchez
  • 36de Ligt
  • 4RiedewaldBooked at 78minsSubstituted forde Jongat 81'minutes
  • 10Klaassen
  • 20SchöneSubstituted forvan de Beekat 70'minutes
  • 22Ziyech
  • 9Traoré
  • 25DolbergSubstituted forNeres Camposat 62'minutes
  • 11YounesBooked at 64mins


  • 2Tete
  • 16Westermann
  • 21de Jong
  • 30van de Beek
  • 33Boer
  • 45Kluivert
  • 77Neres Campos

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 20Romero
  • 25A Valencia
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 36Darmian
  • 21Herrera
  • 6Pogba
  • 8MataBooked at 78minsSubstituted forRooneyat 90'minutes
  • 27FellainiBooked at 52mins
  • 22MkhitaryanBooked at 31minsSubstituted forLingardat 74'minutes
  • 19RashfordSubstituted forMartialat 84'minutes


  • 1de Gea
  • 4Jones
  • 10Rooney
  • 11Martial
  • 14Lingard
  • 16Carrick
  • 24Fosu-Mensah
Damir Skomina

Match Stats

Home TeamAjaxAway TeamMan Utd
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ajax 0, Manchester United 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ajax 0, Manchester United 2.

  3. Post update

    Foul by David Neres (Ajax).

  4. Post update

    Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Neres (Ajax) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Hakim Ziyech.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Davinson Sánchez.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Wayne Rooney replaces Juan Mata.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Joël Veltman.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Joël Veltman (Ajax).

  10. Post update

    Ander Herrera (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Joël Veltman (Ajax) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Donny van de Beek (Ajax) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Bertrand Traoré.

  14. Post update

    Donny van de Beek (Ajax) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  16. Post update

    Dangerous play by Davy Klaassen (Ajax).

  17. Post update

    Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Anthony Martial replaces Marcus Rashford.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Davinson Sánchez (Ajax) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Frenkie de Jong.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Ajax. Frenkie de Jong replaces Jairo Riedewald.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 24th May 2017

As It Stood


2Man Utd6402124812
4Zorya Luhansk602428-62


1Apoel Nicosia640286212
3BSC Young Boys62227438
4FC Astana6123511-65


4FK Qabala6006514-90


1Zenit St Petersburg6501178915
2AZ Alkmaar6222610-48
3Maccabi Tel-Aviv621379-27


2Astra Giurgiu6222710-38
3Viktoria Plzen6132710-36
4Austria Vienna61231114-35


1KRC Genk6402139412
2Ath Bilbao63121011-110
3Rapid Vienna613278-16


2Celta Vigo623110739
3Standard Liege61418627


1Shakhtar Donetsk66002151618
2KAA Gent6222913-48
3Sporting Braga6132911-26


2FK Krasnodar62138807
3RB Salzburg62136607


2PAOK Salonika631276110
3FK Qarabag6213712-57
4Slovan Liberec6114712-54


1Sparta Prague640286212
2Hapoel Be'er Sheva62226608
4Inter Milan6204711-46


3FC Zürich613257-26
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