Manchester United Beat Ajax to Win Europa League, Qualify for UCL Next Season
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Purely in soccer terms, Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Amsterdam’s Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday in Stockholm was a triumph of huge significance for England’s biggest club. On a wider level, it was also a moment to cheer for the team’s grieving home city.
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Manchester is a city in mourning and so the meaning of Manchester United's Europa League final against Ajax Wednesday changed significantly in the two days since the suicide bombing which killed 22 people and injured many more.
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At the Friends Arena in Stockholm, a United fan held aloft a poster which read: "Come on United, do it for Manchester." And they did, beating their Dutch opponents 2-0.
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Paul Pogba, the world's most expensive footballer and a man who, less than a fortnight ago, lost his father to a long-term illness, gave United the lead with a 25-yard deflected strike.
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That they succeeded in doing so was a testament to their strength of character. It made this victory, in a largely forgettable match, one to remember.
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"Tonight was more important than sport," ex-United player Beckham said.
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The 42-year-old added it was "a big night for United but an even bigger night for the city and our country".
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The win secured their second major honour under manager Jose Mourinho and qualification to next season's UEFA Champions League.
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United started on the front foot, and Pogba flashed an effort wide from 25 yards amid a defensive mix-up in the first minute. Ajax struggled to settle into the contest, with their first attack of note coming 15 minutes in when Bertrand Traore shot straight at goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
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Minutes later, the Red Devils' Marouane Fellaini found Pogba unmarked on the edge of the area, and the Frenchman's goal-bound effort took a fortunate deflection off Davinson Sanchez and past 'keeper Andre Onana.
this bloke again... if we wanted non Milan news we could go somewhere like
I especially don't care about Shitchester United...
at least it's not farcelona news
The next result may be different