Manchester United proved too strong for Ajax as a goal in each half won the 2017 UEFA Europa League to complete the English giants' set of major UEFA club competition trophies.
Strikes from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan secured the victory in Stockholm but this was the consummate team performance, built on a formidable midfield engine room of Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Pogba. Ajax had no answer.
It was a rather limp end to a campaign that had burned bright for the Dutch side, whose starting XI for the final averaged 22 years of age. They stunned Schalke and Lyon en route to Sweden, yet never quite managed to match their Amsterdam form on their travels.
All four of Ajax's knockout wins came by the odd goal, underlining an overall competitive trend: in 19 of the 30 ties from the round of 32 onwards, there was just a goal between the teams. Three quarter-finals went to extra time, with free-scoring Lyon needing penalties to eventually see off Beşiktaş.
Ajax then blocked Lyon's path to the final but there would be no denying José Mourinho's United. The Mancunians' Friends Arena success clinched their first UEFA Europa League trophy, a place in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage and the opportunity to dedicate a prize to their city – a city wounded by an explosion two nights before that snatched 22 lives.
"The manager told us that the only thing we could do was win this," said Herrera. "It's only a football game, it's only a trophy, but it's something."
Final man of the match: Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
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