Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Ajax withstands Lyon comeback to reach Europa League final

Ajax withstands Lyon comeback to reach Europa League final

It has been 21 years - the 1996 Champions League final - since Ajax was within one win of capturing a European trophy.

An Ajax goal had been coming before Dolberg finally opened the scoring, and the openness of Lyon's defence and unstable midfield suggested Ajax were in for a simple evening.

The Dutch outlet yesterday spoke to Ajax's star striker Kasper Dolberg, who has caught the attention of many of Europe's finest, having scored an impressive 22 goals in 46 appearances this season.

Resilient Lyon made a strong comeback late in the first half with their top scorer Alexandre Lacazette's two goals in less than two minutes.

The exploits of Coach Peter Bosz's young team, aged just under 23 on average, were hailed across the Netherlands on Thursday, the morning after they held out for a 5-4 aggregate victory in France over Olympique Lyonnais.

Manchester United and Ajax advanced to the Europa League final on Thursday, bringing together two of the continent's grandest soccer clubs looking to regain their former lustre.

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio believes the return of Alexandre Lacazette can help his side stage a miraculous recovery and book their place in the Europa League final.

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"I will stay next season at Ajax", he said.

The 24-year-old was targeted last summer and, although Ajax were prepared to sell, Klaassen thought it was too soon for him to move away from Amsterdam. Bosz continued. "We made it unnecessarily hard, because we played great in the first half".

"A great team. Now we'll have to see if we can really write history". We need to make progress in this area.

There was more hope when Viergever was handed a second yellow card in the 84th minute. "We were so close to the final, it's hard to take", Lacazette said.

"From the end of the first leg, I wanted to keep the disappointment out of the mind, and stress the fact that it is only half-time".

"It could have been different if I'd been fit to start the first leg".

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