Manchester United join neighbors City in last 16 of Europa League
February 23, 2012 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Manchester United celebrate Javier Hernandez's goal but they were beaten 2-1 by Ajax at Old Trafford
- Manchester United reach Europa League last 16 despite second leg defeat
- Ajax win 2-1 at Old Trafford but lose 3-2 on aggregate
- Valencia go through with 1-0 win over Stoke and 2-0 on aggregate
- Atletico Madrid join strong Spanish contingent in last 16
(CNN) -- Manchester United joined neighbors Manchester City in the last 16 of the Europa League but were given an almighty scare by Dutch visitors Ajax in their second leg tie Thursday.
United led 2-0 from the first leg in Amsterdam last week and looked set to cruise through when Javier Hernandez put them ahead with a well-taken early goal.
But Ajax leveled the match later in the first half through a low shot from Aras Ozbiliz and when Toby Alderweireld headed them with four minutes to go United were rocking.
Alex Ferguson's men had thrown away leads during their failure to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League and this was another reminder.
But they were able to play out time to lose 2-1 on the night but go through 3-2 on aggregate and will face Athletic Bilboa in the next round.
Ferguson admitted his youthful selection had nearly cost them their passage through.
I must say, I've got to accept I'm responsible for picking the team and tonight I picked too many young players in the back four positions
"I must say, I've got to accept I'm responsible for picking the team and tonight I picked too many young players in the back four positions -- that was a big problem in terms of experience. It was a big risk I took," he told Channel Five.
"We only had one shot in the second half. I thought we were very poor in the second half," he added.
Bilboa's Spanish counterparts Valencia, like City and United among the favorites to lift the Europa League title, also went through with a 1-0 home win over Stoke City.
They led the English Premier League side 1-0 from the first leg and scored the only goal of the return in the Mestella through Jonas after 24 minutes.
On a good night for La Liga sides, Atletico Madrid also qualified for the last 16 as they beat Lazio 1-0 at home to go through 4-1 on aggregate against the Italians.
Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
Today's five most popular stories