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Ajax seek Old Glory, Man U wants Record



Ajax Amsterdam and Manchester United on Thursday night booked their places in the final of the Europa Cup.

Manchester progressed to the final after surviving a late scare by determined Celta while Ajax progressed on 5-4 aggregate despite losing 1-3 to French side, Lyon. Both sides are to meet in the final slated for Stockholm’s Friends Arena on May 24.

For Manchester United, they are aiming to become the fifth team after Ajax, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Juventus to have won all three UEFA’s major club competitions – European Champions Clubs’ Cup, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In the case of Ajax, this is their 25th campaign in the competition. This is the first time in 21 years since the Nigerian duo of Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu inspired the club to European Cup victory in 1996.

Apart from the Europa Cup victory, both Manchester and Ajax as bonus incentive will seek the Europa Cup as automatic entry into the UEFA Champions League next season.


This season is the third time in which the winners of the UEFA Europa League will gain automatic entry into the UEFA Champions League.

Both had met four times before in previous seasons. The first was in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup first round in which Manchester United overturned an away goal deficit and won 2-0 at home.

Next was the 2011/2012 UEFA Europa League round of 32 when each won the away clashes. Manchester United beat Ajax 2-0 in Amsterdam but surprisingly lost 1-2 at home.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and the country’s most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022.

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