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Unconvincing United stumble past Ajax

Published: Thursday 23 February 2012, 23.28CET
Manchester United FC 1-2 AFC Ajax (agg: 3-2)
The English champions' UEFA Europa League adventure continues with a last-16 meeting against Athletic Club, despite a second-leg defeat by Ajax.
by Simon Hart
from Old Trafford

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Match statistics

Man. UnitedAjax

Goals scored1
 
2
Attempts on target5
 
4
Attempts off target1
 
5
Corners3
 
7
Offsides3
 
2
Fouls committed13
 
9
Yellow cards2
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 23 February 2012, 23.28CET

Unconvincing United stumble past Ajax

Manchester United FC 1-2 AFC Ajax (agg: 3-2)
The English champions' UEFA Europa League adventure continues with a last-16 meeting against Athletic Club, despite a second-leg defeat by Ajax.

Sir Alex Ferguson described the UEFA Europa League as "new territory" for his Manchester United FC team to conquer but they claimed their place in the last 16 only after a stumble. Leading 2-0 from the first leg, United lost 2-1 to AFC Ajax to scrape through as 3-2 aggregate winners to a round of 16 meeting with Spanish side Athletic Club.

United looked home and dry when Javier Hernández extended their aggregate advantage after six minutes but Aras Özbiliz equalised before the break and Toby Alderweireld's late header ensured an anxious final few minutes inside Old Trafford.

A contingent of over 3,000 Ajax fans were in good voice before kick-off, singing their trademark refrain from Bob Marley's Three Little Birds: "Don't worry about a thing." However, their team soon had reason to doubt that every little thing was going to be alright.

Although Kenneth Vermeer beat away Nani's shot inside the first minute, by the sixth minute United did have a goal. Ji-Sung Park, wearing the captain's armband, intercepted Jan Vertonghen's pass and Dimitar Berbatov fed Hernández, who stepped inside Alderweireld and clipped the ball past Vermeer.

After Nicolás Lodeiro had a goal ruled out for offside, Özbiliz gave Ajax a glimmer of hope with his first European goal eight minutes before the break. Phil Jones beat Siem de Jong to the ball in the box but cleared only as far as Özbiliz, whose fierce drive took a slight deflection off Jones en route to the bottom corner.

Frank de Boer's men began the second half seeking a second goal but Lodeiro shot over from Christian Eriksen's cutback, then David de Gea – in front of his watching predecessor, Edwin van der Sar – saved well from De Jong's header.

Sir Alex sent on Paul Scholes and pushed Jones forward to plug the gaps in United's midfield, and Nani struck the crossbar, but Ajax were not finished. Özbiliz lofted a free-kick to the far post and Alderweireld's header ensured they exit the competition with their heads held high.

Last updated: 27/11/12 11.37CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000273/match=2007437/postmatch/report/index.html#united+edge+past+ajax

Lineups

man. united

Man. United

ajax

Ajax

1
De GeaDavid de Gea (GK)
1
VermeerKenneth Vermeer (GK)
4
JonesPhil Jones
3
AlderweireldToby Alderweireld
Goal87
9
BerbatovDimitar Berbatov
Substitution72
4
VertonghenJan Vertonghen (C)
12
SmallingChris Smalling
5
AnitaVurnon Anita
13
Park Ji-SungPark Ji-Sung (C)
7
SulejmaniMiralem Sulejmani
14
HernándezJavier Hernández
Goal6
8
EriksenChristian Eriksen
Substitution61
17
NaniNani
10
S. de JongSiem de Jong
Yellow Card63
18
YoungAshley Young
Substitution61
18
LodeiroNicolás Lodeiro
Substitution81
20
FabioFabio
23
ÖzbilizAras Özbiliz
Goal37
21
RafaelRafael
Yellow Card28
34
Van RhijnRicardo van Rhijn
23
CleverleyTom Cleverley
Substitution61
42
KoppersDico Koppers
Substitution46

Substitutes

40
AmosBen Amos (GK)
22
CillessenJasper Cillessen (GK)
3
EvraPatrice Evra
11
EbecilioLorenzo Ebecilio
6
J. EvansJonny Evans
Substitution61
Yellow Card89
13
OoijerAndré Ooijer
11
GiggsRyan Giggs
17
BlindDaley Blind
Substitution81
16
CarrickMichael Carrick
25
SereroThulani Serero
Substitution61
19
WelbeckDanny Welbeck
Substitution72
28
AissatiIsmaïl Aissati
22
ScholesPaul Scholes
Substitution61
39
KlaassenDavy Klaassen
Substitution46

Coach

Sir Alex Ferguson (SCO) Frank De Boer (NED)

Referee

Damir Skomina (SVN)

Assistant referees

Primož Arhar (SVN), Matej Žunič (SVN)

Fourth official

Roberto Ponis (SVN)

Additional assistant referees

Matej Jug (SVN), Slavko Vinčić (SVN)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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