Ajax looked like they would stroll through to this Europa League final having won the first leg of their semi-final 4-1 at the Amsterdam Arena against Lyon and taken an early lead in the return, but a third goal for Bruno Génésio’s side in the 81st minute made for a nervy finish. It was also far from comfortable for Man Utd, who played out yet another 1-1 draw at Old Trafford after they’d won the first leg at Celta Vigo 1-0.
While Ajax have won all three of their home games since the last-16 stage, they’ve lost all three on the road, at Copenhagen, Schalke and then of course at Lyon. As a result, they could be vulnerable away from the Amsterdam Arena and that’s been the case generally as they’ve won only two of their last eight away in all competitions. What’s more, 18 of the last 22 Champions League and Europa League finals have gone the way of the side we have ranked higher in our gradings. However, only 12 managed to get the job done in 90 minutes and given the way Utd’s season has gone, with 18 draws in all competitions to date, it would perhaps be unsurprising for this to be level after the 90.
As well as the record of higher ranked sides, also in Utd’s favour is Mourinho’s record in major cup finals, which is a pretty special 11 out of 13 so far, with both of the instances of him failing to lift the trophy coming after defeats in extra time. Unsurprisingly, eight of these saw fewer than three goals in the 90 minutes and given seven of Ajax’s last eight Europa League games heading into their helter-skelter tie with Lyon saw fewer than three goals, it’s unlikely that this’ll be full of goals. This has been the priority for Utd for some time now and we expect them to get the job done, though we don’t think it’ll be spectacular. We’re backing the Utd win and Under 2.5 Goals.
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