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Ajax just about hold nerve to set up Old Trafford clash

By Robert Jones

Ajax secured a place in their first European final for 21 years after surviving a huge scare in Lyon. The Dutch side, who played the final six minutes with 10 men, went through 5-4 on aggregate after losing 3-1 on the night, despite taking the lead through 19-year-old Dane Kasper Dolberg.

Lyon's in-demand striker Alexandre Lacazette led the fightback with two in 79 seconds on the stroke of half-time and Rachid Ghezzal's header, which deflected in off Nick Viergever, who moments later was sent off, resulted in a nail-biting finish.

The visitors held on, though, to set up a final meeting with Manchester United in Solna on May 24, their first European showpiece since losing the 1996 Champions League final on penalties to Juventus.

Ajax went into the clash boasting a commanding 4-1 first-leg lead, but Lyon were boosted by the return of key striker Lacazette, who was forced off early on in the clash in Amsterdam.

Ajax's young side were clearly rattled by the two goals before the break and at the start of the second half displayed none of the composure they had in the first.

Maxwel Cornet almost forced extra time with a shot which flew inches wide of the far post in the final minute, but a clearly nervous Ajax managed to hold on to secure the United showdown.

Belfast Telegraph


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