Skip to main content

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 celebrate Javier Hernandez's goal but they were beaten 2-1 by Ajax at Old Trafford
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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
Alex Ferguson

"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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT