Full Time: AFC Ajax 0-2 Manchester United
Manchester United lifted the UEFA Europa League 2016/17 trophy when they defeated AFC Ajax 2-0 in the finals at the Friends Arena, Stockholm, on Wednesday night.
After a strong start to the game, it was United who opened the scoring in the 18th minute as Paul Pogba’s shot took a deflection off of Davinson Sanchez to end up in the back of the net. Ajax were on the ascendancy going into the half time, but the Red Devils made it 2-0 within three minutes of the restart through Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Dutch side never really looked like providing a major scare to Jose Mourinho’s side and they saw out the game to claim the trophy for the first time.
The win means United finish the season with three silverware – FA Community Shield, EFL Cup and the Europa League. And what’s more is that now they are through to the group stages of next season’s UEFA Champions League. Here is how the United players fared on the night:
Manchester United Player Ratings
Sergio Romero – 7/10
Apart from one fierce shot from Bertrand Traore in the first half, the Argentine was hardly called into action. Cool and calm.
Antonio Valencia – 8/10
A captain’s performance. Led the team by example with his hard work. Looked a serious threat each time he got forward and forced a save from the Ajax goalkeeper with a powerful strike.
Chris Smalling – 7/10
Had Kasper Dolberg in his pockets throughout the game. Aggressive, strong and decisive. Set up the second goal with a knock down from a corner.
Daley Blind – 8/10
Looked the most comfortable of the back four. Never caught out of position, always popped up to nip the danger in the bud. Passing was top notch too.
Matteo Darmian – 7/10
Followed Traore like a shadow. May have been beaten on a few occasions, but did very well to stymie the threat the Chelsea loanee posed.
Ander Herrera – 7/10
Quick to get out of the blocks and press the Ajax players when they entered United’s half. Worked very hard to shield his defence, allowing Pogba and Fellaini to go forward.
Paul Pogba – 7.5/10
Came close with a volley in the first minute. Scored the first with a deflected left-footed effort. Always looking to drive United forward when on ball. A vocal presence on the field.
Juan Mata – 6/10
Flitted in and out of the game. Seems to be lacking the rhythm that he was in before injury. But again, no lack of efforts.
Marouane Fellaini – 7/10
Hustled and bustled well in the attacking third. A force in the air as United looked to find him with long balls each time. Grabbed the assist for Pogba’s goal. Had a great chance in the second half, but headed straight at the goalkeeper.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6.5/10
Looked scratchy. Booked in the 30th minute after a series of fouls on Joel Veltman. Made amends with the all important second goal with a sharp finish.
Marcus Rashford – 6/10
Put Sanchez under pressure on a number of occasions. Tried hard, ran the channels, but it was not to be his night. No shortage of efforts though.
Jesse Lingard – 5/10
Replaced Mkhitaryan in the 74th minute. Had a great chance to make it three, but lost out to Sanchez.
Anthony Martial – NA
Came on for Rashford for the last seven minutes.
Wayne Rooney – NA
Replaced Mata for the final few minutes.