Ajax have reached the Europa League quarter-finals after a 2-0 victory over Copenhagen in the Amsterdam Arena.

Down 2-1 from the first leg, Ajax knew nothing less than a win would do on Thursday and they started brightly with Amin Younes nearly scoring in the first two minutes. The winger raced onto a bad back-pass but Robin Olsen beat Younes to the ball only for the goalkeeper’s clearance to deflect off the German and fly agonisingly wide.

Ajax had to substitute Joel Veltman early on after an injury but that didn’t knock them off their stride and on 26 minutes they took the lead. Younes skipped by three Copenhagen defenders before firing a shot at goal, which Olsen saved but Bertrand Traore was on hand to nod in the rebound.

Hakim Ziyech then hit a shot just wide as Ajax continued to dominate and just before the break they were awarded a penalty when Okore brought down Kasper Dolberg. The Danish striker took over penalty duties from the suspended Davy Klaassen and cooly slotted into the net to make it 2-0.

Copenhagen still only needed a goal to take the tie into extra-time but Davinson Sanchez and Matthijs de Ligt excelled at the back to keep the Danes quiet in the second half. Ajax really should have added further goals but Dolberg hit the post while Younes messed up a counter-attack with Olsen stranded out of his goal.

The last few minutes in the Arena were tense but Ajax held on to book their place in the last eight of a European competition for the first time since 2003. Ajax now join Lyon, Manchester United, Schalke, Celta Vigo, Anderlecht, Besiktas and Genk in the next round.

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