DOWNLOAD VIDEO: Lyon 3 – 1 Ajax [Europa League] Highlights 2016/17 Ajax will face Manchester United in the final of the Europa League after narrowly overcoming Lyon with a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Kasper Dolberg’s exquisite goal proved vital as 10-man Ajax clung on seal their place in the Europa League final despite a 3-1 defeat to Lyon, who saw their dramatic attempt at comeback fall short.
Ajax, winners of the UEFA Cup in 1992, held a 4-1 lead from the first leg in Amsterdam, and Dolberg’s sixth Europa League goal of the campaign – a subtle dink over Anthony Lopes – furthered their advantage 27 minutes into a thrilling contest.
However, naive defending from Peter Bosz’s young side allowed Lyon back into the tie – Alexandre Lacazette netting twice in the space of 76 seconds on the stroke of half time.
Matters were made worse for Viergever when he picked up a second yellow card moments later, but the undermanned visitors clung on for a 5-4 aggregate triumph amid sustained late pressure from Lyon to set up a final against Manchester United on May 24.
Having weathered an early Lyon storm, Ajax had the better of the opening stages – Amin Younes and Hakim Ziyech both failing to make the most of gilt-edged chances.
But the visitors did not have to wait too long to take the lead.
Quick-thinking from Andre Onana freed up Younes to play in Dolberg who – after timing his run to perfection – lofted a sublime finish over the onrushing Lopes.
A dejected Lyon were handed a lifeline just prior to the interval, though – Lacazette thumping home from the penalty spot after going down under pressure from Matthijs De Ligt.
That goal sparked Lyon into life, and they had their second a minute later when Lacazette steered in Nabil Fekir’s cross-Cvm-shot to complete the turnaround.
Ajax’s youthful defence was carved open again after the restart, but Mouctar Diakhaby could not apply the finish after connecting with Mathieu Valbuena’s free-kick.
Fekir should have turned from provider to goalscorer with 25 minutes remaining, yet Ajax escaped unscathed as the forward skewed over from close-range.
Van de Beek was a whisker away from settling the tie with a blistering strike that struck the upright – and Lyon had a third moments later.
Ghezzal’s header deflected in wickedly off the unfortunate Viergever, who received his marching orders soon after for a late lunge on Rybus.