Europa League preview: Man United, Ajax nearing clash in final

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At Thursday’s end, two teams will be en route to Sweden… the question is, who?

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Ajax and Manchester United currently lead in their respective ties after solid opening leg performances, but the Dutch and English sides will have to replicate their efforts if they are to meet up in two weeks’ time at Friends Arena.

Manchester United vs. Celta Vigo — Thursday, 3:05 p.m. ET

The Red Devils will head home to Old Trafford to take on Celta Vigo after picking up a crucial away goal in Spain last Thursday in their 1-0 win at the Balaídos.

Marcus Rashford‘s second half free kick proved to be the difference for Jose Mourinho’s side, and the young attacker could play an important role for the Premier League club as they continue to battle the injury bug.

United will have one of its two top goalscorers in the competition though, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his five goals should provide stability in the attack along with Jesse Lingard.

Mourinho’s men are unbeaten in their last nine UEL matches, winning seven and picking up draws in their other two fixtures. Either result will do for United on Thursday.

Lyon vs. Ajax — Thursday, 3:05 p.m. ET

The Parc Olympique Lyonnais will play host to the two clubs in this semifinal second leg, but the French hosts will have their work cut out against Ajax after a 4-1 defeat six days ago.

Bertrand Traore‘s brace helped push Ajax one step closer to a UEL final, while Kasper Dolberg and Amin Younes each booked their names onto the scoresheet.

Lyon’s lone saving grace from the opening leg came with a Mathieu Valbuena finish in the second half. However, his side would need a 3-0 victory at the very least to have an opportunity at completing the comeback.