Ajax will face Manchester United in the Europa League final on Wednesday as they hope to lift their first major European trophy since 1995. We take a look at the Amsterdammers journey to Stockholm.

Ajax 1-1 PAOK Saloniki 

Peter Bosz’s first official game in charge of the club came in the Champions League third qualifying round, but it didn’t go to plan. The home side dominated the early stages but on 26 minutes a swift PAOK counter-attack ended with Djalma firing the Greek side ahead. With Arkaduisz Milik having left for Napoli and no new striker brought in yet, Kasper Dolberg was given his first start and he repaid the faith and announced himself on the European stage by netting the equaliser just before the hour mark. He fired a low strike into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Ajax’s couldn’t find the winner before the end which meant they needed a result in Greece to advance.

PAOK Saloniki 1-2 Ajax

The second leg couldn’t have started worse for Ajax with Stefanos Athanasiadis firing PAOK ahead from a corner after only four minutes. However, Ajax captain Davy Klaassen stepped up to guide his side into the net round. Firstly the midfielder equalised on 45 minutes from the penalty spot after Nick Viergever had been pulled to the ground. Then with the game heading for extra time he sweetly struck a fierce shot into the net from the edge of the box on 85 minutes to put Ajax through.

Ajax 1-1 Rostov

Days after a poor draw with Roda JC at home, Peter Bosz’s shaky start as Ajax head coach continued in the playoff round. Ajax was only two games away from the Champions League group stages but they were held to a damaging draw in the Amsterdam Arena. Noboa sent a low free-kick past a surprised Jasper Cillessen to put the Russian’s in front before Klaassen equalised from the penalty spot. Ajax had chances to win the game but couldn’t take them.

Rostov 4-1 Ajax

Ajax were dumped out of the Champions League after being taught a harsh lesson in Russia. The Dutch side defended horribly and were 4-0 down by the 66th minute. Klaassen pulled one back through another penalty, but that was just a consolation as Ajax fell into the Europa League. Luckily for Ajax, this defeat was a turning point in Bosz’s reign, and kick-started a nine-game winning streak.

Panathinaikos 1-2 Ajax

Ajax’s Europa League campaign got off to a good start in a fiery game which saw three red cards handed out. Ex-PSV man Marcus Berg put Panathinaikos ahead on only five minutes, but Bertrand Traore equalised from close range on 34 minutes. Ajax were then awarded a penalty on 67 minutes, and although Klaassen’s effort was saved, Jairo Riedewald followed up to net. The hosts were then reduced to nine men before the end while Hakim Ziyech also saw red for his second yellow card.

Ajax 1-0 Standard Liege

Finally, Ajax found their first win at home in Europe to consolidate their good start to the campaign. Kasper Dolberg scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute with a great powerful run into the box before firing into the net.

Celta Vigo 2-2 Ajax

This was a match that showed how far Bosz’s side had come from the defeat in Russia just weeks before as Ajax outplayed Celta in their own stadium and were unlucky not to come away with the win. Hakim Ziyech dribbled into space in the box before firing Ajax ahead on 22 minutes, but Fontas equalised just before the half hour mark. Amin Younes restored Ajax’s lead with a lovely curling strike into the top corner, but eight minutes from time Fabian Orellana earned the hosts a point.

Ajax 3-2 Celta Vigo

Ajax all but sealed top spot in the group with a hugely entertaining win over the Spaniards. Ajax tore the visitors apart but had to wait until the 41st minute to break the deadlock with Dolberg flicking past his marker before smashing the ball past Ruben Blanco. On 67 mintues, Bertrand Traore dribbled to the byline before picking out Ziyech to tap in a second and Younes quickly added a third. John Guidetti and Iago Aspas pulled two back for Celta but Ajax held on to claim another impressive win.

Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos

Peter Bosz rung the changes for the home game with Panathinaikos with their progression already sealed. However, Ajax’s young side that contained Abdelhak Nouri, Vaclav Cerny and Mateo Cassierra still proved too strong for Panathinaikos. Lasse Schone curled in an excellent free-kick on 38 minutes before Kenny Tete lashed in a second just after the break.

Standard Liege 1-1 Ajax

Ajax kept their 100% unbeaten record in the group stages with a 1-1 draw in Belgium. Once again Bosz sent out a young side but they still proved a match for Standard, and took the lead on 27 minutes when Anwar El Ghazi raced onto a fantastic pass by Donny van de Beek before slotting in. Late on, some lazy defending saw Benito Raman head in a late equaliser, but it didn’t stop Ajax from taking a point away and sealing top spot in the group.

Legia Warsaw 0-0 Ajax

Ajax’s reward for topping the group was a tie against Polish side Legia Warsaw in the first knockout round, and they put in a solid performance in the first leg to take away a 0-0 draw. Kenny Tete was shown a late red card, but Ajax held on.

Ajax 1-0 Legia Warsaw

Needing to win to progress, Ajax were initially frustrated by the Polish side in Amsterdam, with Ziyech hitting the post in a goalless first half. However, four minutes into the second half, Nick Viergever proved to be the hero as he slotted in from close range to put Ajax in front. Legia couldn’t find the away goal that would have taken them through, and Ajax comfortably headed into the last 16.

Copenhagen 2-1 Ajax

Ajax drew Champions League drop-outs Copenhagen in the last 16 and the first leg in Denmark was a difficult evening for the Amsterdammers. After only 27 seconds, Ramus Falk fired Copenhagen ahead and Ajax had to survive several chances for the hosts before Kasper Dolberg scored a controversial equaliser, which looked offside. Both sides traded chances in the second half, but it was Copenhagen who found the winner as Andreas Cornelious rose above Matthijs de Ligt to condemn Ajax to their first defeat of the competition.

Ajax 2-0 Copenhagen

Ajax knew they had to win in Amsterdam to prevent themselves being knocked out of the competition and on 22 minutes, Younes drove at the Danes defence before seeing his shot parried into the path of Traore who headed in the opening goal. In first half injury time, Dolberg was brought down in the box and the Dane fired in the penalty himself to put the hosts 2-0 up. Copenhagen couldn’t take the game to extra time in the second half meaning Ajax booked their spot in the quarter-finals and a showdown with German giants Schalke.

Ajax 2-0 Schalke

Not many people gave Ajax a chance of progressing against the Bundesliga giants, but in the Amsterdam Arena the Dutch side completely played the Germans of the park and were unlucky not to end the tie in the first leg. Davy Klaassen scored both goals for Ajax, one from the penalty spot, but only some wasteful finishing and excellent goalkeeping kept the score down. It was an excellent display by the hosts and it arose the belief that maybe this side could go all the way.

Schalke 3-2 AET Ajax

Avoiding a big defeat was all Ajax had to in order to reach the semi-finals and it seemed they were on their way when they went into the break at 0-0. However, within the space of three minutes, Schalke scored twice through Leon Goretzka and Guido Burgstaller to level the tie. Ajax had to survive the last 20 minutes with ten men after Joel Veltman was sent off, but they took the tie to extra time. In the 101st minute Daniel Caligiuri put Schalke ahead in the tie and it seemed Ajax were going to regret all those missed chances from the 1st leg, but then out of nowhere Nick Viergever lashed a shot into the net to make it 3-1, which would put Ajax through on away goals. Younes then scored a goal on the break to seal Ajax place in the last four and a date with Lyon.

Ajax 4-1 Lyon

What a night in Amsterdam this game was as Ajax drew flashbacks of their great teams of old in tearing apart Lyon in such spectacular fashion. The French side actually began on top but Traore flicked Ajax ahead on 25 minutes before he sent Dolberg in on goal moments later and the Dane made no mistake to make it 2-0 at the break. Three minutes into the second half, Younes made it 3-0 as his shot snuck over the line and was awarded thanks to goalline technology. Ajax were flying but Lyon threatened a comeback when Mathieu Valbuena lashed in a strike from the edge of the box on 66 minutes. However, it was to be Ajax’s day and Traore wrapped up a stunning win by tapping in Ziyech’s excellent cross. Ajax actually could have had more before the end but Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes made great saves to deny Ziyech and Donny van de Beek as the hosts ran riot.

Lyon 3-1 Ajax

Just like in the second leg against Schalke, all Ajax had to do was avoid a big defeat and they were in the final. The first half seemed to be going so well as Dolberg fired in a crucial away goal on 27 minutes after a fine through ball by Younes. However, Alexandre Lacazette went down under a challenge from Matthijs de Ligt to earn a penalty, which he netted on 45 minutes, and in injury time the striker struck again to put the hosts ahead. Lyon still needed to score twice in the second half and they laid siege to the Ajax goal. Rachid Ghezzal headed in a fortunate third with ten minutes to go, and it seemed Ajax were doomed when Nick Viergever was shown a red card. However, Ajax defended brilliantly for the last few minutes to seal their place in the final against Manchester United.




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