Manchester United survived a nervy last few minutes to reach their first Europa League final last night after a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo. Jose Mourinho’s team went through 2-1 on aggregate following last week’s 1-0 win in northern Spain.
The former English Premiership champions are to meet Dutch giants Ajax who lost 3-1 away to Lyon last night yet qualified based on their first leg 4-1 victory in Amsterdam that saw them through 5-4 on aggregate. The final is scheduled to hold on May 24 in Stockholm.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, United took control as Marouane Fellaini headed home Marcus Rashford’s cross.
But Celta, needing two goals, levelled on the night through Facundo Roncaglia to set up a tense final few minutes.
United’s Eric Bailly and Roncaglia were sent off after a mass brawl as the hosts joined Ajax in the final.
But they could only celebrate after Celta striker John Guidetti scuffed a golden chance to put the visitors through to their first major European final with the final kick of the game.
The aggregate victory took the Red Devils a step closer to their first Europa League triumph and a return to the Champions League.
United had never lost a two-legged European tie after winning the first leg away from home, and knew they would reach the final by keeping a clean sheet at an expectant Old Trafford.
The hosts looked nervy as Celta made an attacking start, before Fellaini settled the tension by converting the hosts’ first effort on target.
The Belgium midfielder sneaked in at the far post to powerfully head in Rashford’s clipped right-wing cross.
Jose Mourinho’s side created few other chances as they aimed to frustrate the visitors, who now needed at least two goals, with an organised and largely defensive approach.
Although Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rashford and Fellaini all drew saves from Celta keeper Sergio Alvarez after the break, it was a functional – not flashy – performance from United.